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Six changes for Ulster's sell-out Connacht game at Kingspan

Les Kiss has made six changes to the Ulster starting 15 for Friday's Connacht game at the Kingspan.

Five of the changes come in the forwards after a physical Champions Cup tie versus ASM Clermont Auvergne on Sunday.

Andrew Warwick and Rodney Ah You come in to start in the front row alongside Rory Best, who will again captain the side from hooker.

Kieran Treadwell, who impressed off the bench in the back-to-back games against the French giants, has earned a start in the second row. Iain Henderson has been moved from blindside flanker to partner the youngster at lock.

More: Ulster will produce a Christmas special for fans, says Kiss

Clive Ross and Roger Wilson have been selected in the back row alongside Chris Henry, who is retained in the number seven jersey.

There is just one newcomer in the backline as Jacob Stockdale, who made his European debut against Clermont at the weekend, is installed on the left wing. Louis Ludik is moved to the right wing berth and Charles Piutau will continue at fullback.

Stuart McCloskey, who will win his 50th Ulster cap on Friday evening, will again be joined in midfield by fellow international Luke Marshall. Ruan Pienaar and Paddy Jackson start together in the half-back positions for the third consecutive match.

Andrew Trimble was unable to train fully this week and therefore was not available for selection.

Kiss has named an experienced replacements bench, which has accumulated 892 Ulster appearances.

The Ulster men currently occupy fifth position in the Guinness PRO12, with a game in hand on the teams above them, while Connacht are also in contention for a top four spot.

The match is a sell-out and with weather warnings in place, Ulster are advising spectators to allow added time for their journey to the stadium.

More: Weather: Double storm warning for Northern Ireland Christmas weekend

Ulster team and replacements to play Connacht, Guinness PRO12, Friday December 23, Kingspan Stadium (7.35pm kick-off):

(15-9): C Piutau, L Ludik, L Marshall, S McCloskey, J Stockdale, P Jackson, R Pienaar;

(1-8): A Warwick, R Best (captain), R Ah You, K Treadwell, I Henderson, C Ross, C Henry, R Wilson;

Replacements (16-23): R Herring, C Black, W Herbst, F van der Merwe, S Reidy, P Marshall, D Cave, T Bowe.

The match will be televised live on BBC NI and Sky Sports.

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