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Ulster v Zebre team news: Cave closes in on record while Baloucoune returns as Ulster make five changes

On the ball: Darren Cave
On the ball: Darren Cave

Darren Cave will become Ulster's second most capped player when he lines out against Zebre at Kingspan Stadium on Saturday evening.

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The centre holds his place in an Ulster line-up that features five changes from the side that saw off Ospreys.

Number 10 Michael Lowry is not in the squad after leaving the field with a head injury last weekend. Peter Nelson shifts to fly-half with John Cooney on Six Nations duty and Dave Shanahan is included at number nine.

Louis Ludik moves to full-back with Robert Baloucoune and Rob Lyttle named on the wings, Angus Kernohan away with Ireland U20s.

In the pack, Kieran Treadwell comes in to replace Iain Henderson at lock while Sean Reidy reputises for Ireland international Jordi Murphy.

Cave will earn his 222nd cap to move him to second in Ulster’s all-time appearance list, overtaking Roger Wilson’s tally of 221. The 31-year-old will now have his sights on Andrew Trimble’s club record of 229.

He is again joined in midfield by Stuart McCloskey, who marked a milestone last week against Ospreys with a Man of the Match performance in his 100th provincial game.

The front row of Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring and Marty Moore is unchanged from last week’s win in Bridgend, while Treadwell is alongside captain Alan O’Connor. Reidy will start in the seven jersey and is joined in the back row by Clive Ross and Nick Timoney.

The replacements bench is made up of John Andrew, Andy Warwick, Ross Kane, Ian Nagle, Greg Jones, Jonny Stewart, Johnny McPhillips and James Hume.

Meanwhile, Zebre have both Giulio Bisegni and Carlo Canna released from international duty to start while former Northampton wing Jamie Elliott joins ex-Super Rugby players Josh Renton and Francois Brummer in the back three.

Ulster team to face Zebre

15-9: L Ludik; R Baloucoune, D Cave, S McCloskey, R Lyttle; P Nelson, D Shanahan;

1-8: E O’Sullivan, R Herring, M Moore, A O’Connor (captain), K Treadwell, C Ross, S Reidy, N Timoney;

Replacements: J Andrew, A Warwick, R Kane, I Nagle, G Jones, J Stewart, J McPhillips, J Hume.

Zebre team to face Ulster

15-9: F Brummer; P Balekana, G Bisegni, N de Battista, J Elliott; C Canna, J Renton

1-8: D Rimpelli, O Fabiani, E Bello; L Krumov, G Biagi (c); A Tauyavuca, J Brown, J Bianchi.

Replacements: L Luus, D Fischetti, R Tenga, L Masselli, A Mordacci, R Raffaele, M Azzolini, G Venditti.

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