British Lion winger, Tommy Bowe, Roger Wilson and Jared Payne all return to the Ulster matchday team to face Leicester tonight at Ravenhill in the opening game in Pool Five of this season’s Heineken Cup.
Bowe and fullback Payne missed last week’s PRO12 win over the Ospreys when they were eleventh hour withdrawals.
Payne, who played centre in the win over Treviso a week earlier, will start at fullback, with Craig Gilroy ruled out injured.
Bowe will return to the flank and Andrew Trimble takes the other wing position again. Wilson is named at blindside loose forward in place of Robbie Diack who moves to the bench.
Wilson and No 8 Nick Williams have impressed strongly together and Ulster will need to have plenty of muscle up front against the Tigers.
Meanwhile, Ulster coach, Mark Anscombe opted to start man of the moment, Ruan Pienaar from the bench.
Pienaar – who signed a three year extension this week – admitted to the News Letter in an exclusive interview that the last time Ulster met Leicester is was one of the best games he had played in his career. Ulster won 41-7.
He added: “But it will be a completely different ball game this week.
“Our home games will be especially important and to get off to a good start will be massive to us. We have a good squad and hopefully we can do the job.”
Tigers rugby director Richard Cockerill gives a debut to former Worcester wing Miles Benjamin, who joined Leicester more than a year ago but then suffered a serious neck injury.
Elsewhere, Dan Bowden lines up in midfield alongside Vereniki Goneva with Anthony Allen absent due to an ankle injury, and England lock Geoff Parling has been declared fully fit, meaning he partners Louis Deacon in the second-row.
Ulster: Jared Payne; Andrew Trimble, Darren Cave, Luke Marshall, Tommy Bowe; Paddy Jackson, Paul Marshall; Tom Court, Rory Best, Declan Fitzpatrick, Johann Muller (c), Dan Tuohy, Roger Wilson, Chris Henry, Nick Williams
Replacements: Rob Herring, Callum Black, Ricky Lutton, Iain Henderson, Robbie Diack, Ruan Pienaar, Stuart Olding, Michael Allen
Leicester Tigers: Niall Morris; Miles Benjamin, Vereniki Goneva, Dan Bowden, Adam Thompstone; Toby Flood (c), Ben Youngs; Logovii Mulipola, Tom Youngs, Dan Cole, Louis Deacon, Geoff Parling, Ed Slater, Julian Salvi, Jordan Crane
Replacements: Neil Briggs, Boris Stankovich, Fraser Balmain, Graham Kitchener, Thomas Waldrom, David Mele, Owen Williams, Terrence Hepetema