Rob Herring to captain Ulster team for Munster clash
Rob Herring has recovered from concussion to captain Ulster for the New Year's Day clash with Munster at the Kingspan (5.35pm).
Rodney Ah You and Kyle McCall also return from two-month injury lay-offs and will join their skipper in the front row.
Alan O'Connor and Kieran Treadwell, who performed so well together in the back-to-back Champions Cup games versus Harlequins, are reunited in the second row.
Jean Deysel, who has also been out of action for over two months, is named at number 8, with Abbey Insurance Academy duo Nick Timoney and Greg Jones selected alongside the Springbok in the back row.
John Cooney and Christian Lealiifano are paired in the half back positions once again, while Stuart McCloskey and Louis Ludik will combine in midfield.
Rob Lyttle will make his first start of the season after being named on the left wing, as Craig Gilroy and Charles Piutau complete the starting XV.
A further two Academy players, Adam McBurney and Johnny McPhillips, are selected among the replacements.
Callum Black, Wiehahn Herbst, Robbie Diack and Matthew Rea will join McBurney as forward cover on the bench. The experienced Paul Marshall and Andrew Trimble, both of whom have over 200 Ulster caps to their name, round off the match day 23.
Individual tickets for the match are sold out but you can still attend by purchasing a 2018 Game Pass, which covers all six of Ulster's remaining home fixtures this season. Visit ulsterrugby.com/gamepass for details.
There will be live TV coverage on BBC NI.
Ulster Rugby team to play Munster, Guinness PRO14, Monday 1st January, Kingspan Stadium, kick-off 5.35pm:
(15-9): Charles Piutau; Craig Gilroy, Louis Ludik, Stuart McCloskey, Rob Lyttle; Christian Lealiifano, John Cooney;
(1-8): Kyle McCall, Rob Herring (captain), Rodney Ah You, Alan O'Connor, Kieran Treadwell, Greg Jones, Nick Timoney, Jean Deysel;
Replacements (16-23): Adam McBurney, Callum Black, Wiehahn Herbst, Robbie Diack, Matthew Rea, Paul Marshall, Johnny McPhillips, Andrew Trimble.
Belfast Telegraph Digital