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Jared Payne to return as Bowe racks up his 150th appearance

By Jonathan Bradley

There will be a welcome return to the Ulster fold for Jared Payne against Zebre tomorrow (12.30pm kick-off) after the Irish international was named on the bench for the trip to Parma.

The 31-year-old, who can play at either centre or full-back, will be back on the field three months to the day of his last game, when he damaged a kidney on Test duty against Australia.

Having returned to training three weeks ago, Ulster were cautious not to rush the naturalised Kiwi back into action, but he came through contact work this week without any problems.

Payne will provide midfield cover with former Ireland Under-20 international back-three player David Busby set for a debut off the bench.

With Jack Owens having won his first cap against Glasgow, Busby would be the second debutant in as many weeks.

In a strong selection, Les Kiss has been further boosted by returns from international duty.

Tommy Bowe has spent the week at Carton House with the national side but will be with his province tomorrow, making a milestone 150th appearance for the team.

Luke Marshall, who was Ireland's 24th man against Scotland and Italy, is back in the Ulster midfield with the role of international back-up appearing to have gone to Munster's Andrew Conway in the Aviva this evening.

After an elbow problem, Stuart Olding is fit again to take his place alongside Marshall.

So too Charles Piutau, who had a leg injury last week but is back on the wing tomorrow, with the team's top try-scorer Jacob Stockdale showing his versatility by lining out at full-back, where he previously impressed for the Irish Under-20s.

The back-line is completed by the retained half-back pairing of Ruan Pienaar and Pete Nelson.

Up front, however, it is all change with Kiss swapping out his entire tight five.

Where Callum Black, John Andrew, Ricky Lutton, Franco van der Merwe and Pete Browne all started in the win over Glasgow, all but Van der Merwe, who is rested altogether, are dropped to the bench.

Andy Warwick, who was battling a shoulder problem, comes back in at loosehead with Wiehahn Herbst wearing the No.3 jersey for the first time since December's Champions Cup win over Clermont.

Rob Herring, having made his comeback from injury off the bench last week, is back at hooker to captain the side.

There is another milestone in the engine room, where Robbie Diack makes his 150th PRO12 appearance for the side, alongside Alan O'Connor who missed last week.

For the second time in three weeks, Sean Reidy is on the bench with Kiss making one alteration to his back-row that was so effective against Glasgow.

Reidy is replaced by Clive Ross, who will start at blindside.

Marcell Coetzee, who has been as advertised in his two games so far, will again start at No.8 with Chris Henry getting the nod at openside flanker.

Belfast Telegraph


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