Ulster are determined to sign off the first phase of their season with a seventh straight victory when they travel to Parc Y Scarlets for Saturday evening’s PRO12 match against Scarlets.
A win against the Welsh region could see Ulster climb to second place in the table as they go into a short break due to the international Test matches.
The Irish Province were forced to make several changes to the side which defeated Cardiff Blues at Ravenhill last week with a try scoring bonus point.
It will test the strength in depth of the squad, although Ulster still travel with a strong starting XV with Jared Payne captaining the side in the absence of skipper Johann Muller who is out injured.
Payne starts at fullback with Stuart Olding ruled out after suffering concussion in the game against Cardiff.
Andrew Trimble starts on the right wing with Michael Allen selected on the left.
Darren Cave and Chris Farrell are paired in midfield, with Ruan Pienaar moving from scrumhalf to outhalf and Paul Marshall starting at 9.
In the front row, the only change sees Rob Herring picked at hooker with John Afoa and Callum Black selected either side.
There is a whole new second-row with Lewis Stevenson and Neil McComb starting, while in the back row, Roger Wilson moves from the back of the scrum to openside, Robbie Diack keeps his place at blindside and Nick Williams returns at Number 8.
The loss of several front line players is nothing knew for an Ulster side which has made great strides in recent years.
The fact that eight players are on National duty - and three others joined the training session in Dublin this week - is testament to the progress made.
Assistant coach, Jonny Bell, said that while missing so many players did test the resources, it was also a positive.
“It is fantastic to see so many Ulster players in the Irish set-up and that is one of the things we want to see continuing.
“It also means it gives opportunities to others to garnish experience.
“This is a time of year for others to stake a claim and really push their credentials.
“Go back four or five years ago, if we’d been in this situation we’d have been seriously concerned.
“Now we have really good strength and depth in the squad.
“It’s a good opportunity for some of these guys, because they sit waiting for chances.
“Sometimes those chances come through injuries, sometimes they come through guys being away with the national camp.
“They have to be ready to go and adapt and grab those chances with both hands.
“The Scarlets will have players in and out like ourselves, and they’ve been a little bit up and down this season.
“It will be tough but we’ve had a good run.
“We are keen to finish off this block of games well to set ourselves up for the next block.
“After this, it will be a good time for players to get a bit of a break to physically and mentally recharge, because the pre-Christmas and Christmas period is so important.”