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Ulster v Ospreys: Andrew Trimble can soothe Irish woe as Doak plumps for Nelson


All in hand: Andrew Trimble will take his place for Ulster

All in hand: Andrew Trimble will take his place for Ulster

?INPHO/Presseye/Brian Little

All in hand: Andrew Trimble will take his place for Ulster

Andrew Trimble will put his World Cup disappointment to one side tonight as he takes his place in the Ulster team to face the Ospreys at the Kingspan Stadium (7.35pm kick-off).

The 30-year-old wing learned this week that he did not make Joe Schmidt's 31-man panel for the showpiece tournament and so returns to his provincial colours for the PRO12 season opener.

Still on stand-by should injuries strike, the Coleraine man - who appeared at World Cups in both 2007 and 2011 - will be out to show the national selectors that he is fully recovered from the foot problem that has limited his involvement in recent weeks.

He forms part of a dangerous back-three that contains fellow Irish international Craig Gilroy on the opposite wing and South African Louis Ludik at full-back.

The biggest selection headache for head coach Neil Doak comes at fly-half, where Peter Nelson will be pressed into action in the No 10 jersey.

The academy graduate - whose 22 Ulster appearances have all come at full-back or wing despite playing at stand-off for Dungannon in the All-Ireland League - is forced out of position with Paddy Jackson on Ireland duty.

Ian Humphreys and Sam Windsor, who were expected to provide cover for Jackson, miss out with a hamstring strain and an Achilles problem respectively.

Nelson's half-back partner will be Paul Marshall - the experienced scrum-half is set for a run of games with Ruan Pienaar part of South Africa's World Cup squad - with Luke Marshall and Stuart McCloskey Doak's midfield pairing in the absence of Jared Payne and Darren Cave.

Up front, Callum Black is still a few weeks away from fitness so Andrew Warwick packs down at loose-head with Wiehahn Herbst getting the start on the other side of the scrum.

Rob Herring will fill in for Rory Best both in the No 2 jersey and the role of skipper as he leads the team for the first time in a competitive fixture.

In the engine room, Dan Tuohy is joined by Franco van der Merwe in a partnership that has plenty of experience with Tuohy another who is looking for a big performance after being jettisoned from Ireland's World Cup party.

Roger Wilson takes his place at blindside flanker after overcoming the foot problem that saw him miss both pre-season games and makes his 182nd appearance for the province.

Willie Faloon gets the nod in the No 7 jersey usually reserved for Chris Henry and will be making his first start for Ulster in three years after rejoining from Connacht this summer.

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Nick Williams is another back after a lengthy absence as he starts at the base of the scrum for the first time since being handed an eight-week ban in March.

On the bench, with injuries somewhat forcing his hand, Doak has opted for a six and two split of forwards and backs.

Hooker John Andrew will expect an increase in his minutes this season while Ricky Lutton and Bronson Ross provide the remaining front-row cover.

Back-rowers Clive Ross and Sean Reidy are both on the bench while new signing Peter Browne - who can play at lock or No 6 - will make his debut should he be called upon.

The only backs among the replacements are scrum-half David Shanahan and exciting young centre Sam Arnold.

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