Ulster and Saracens confirm teams for Ravenhill cup tie

Ulster's Ruan Pienaar
Ulster's Ruan Pienaar

Ruan Pienaar has recoverd from a shoulder injury and returns to the Ulster team for the Heineken Cup quarter-final against Saracens at Ravenhill on Saturday (kick-off 6.30pm)

The influential Springbok scrum-half has not played since sustaining the injury in the win over NG Dragaons.

England forward Billy Vunipola has been named in the Saracens starting team.

The blind-side flanker will make his first appearance since February after suffering ankle ligament damage in England’s over Ireland at Twickenham.

England fly-half Owen Farrell returns after coming on as a second-half replacement in last weekend’s win over Wasps.

There were no surprises in the Ulster backs with Luke Marshall and Darren Cave continuing their centre partnership while Jared Payne starts at full-back.

Dan Tuohy gets the nod ahead of Ireland lock Iain Henderson and he will partner captain Johann Muller.

There was stiff competition for places in the back row and coach Mark Anscombe goes with Chris Henry, Roger Wilson and Nick Williams.

Stephen Ferris and Robbie Diack are the pair to miss out and they are on the bench along with Henderson, Craig Gilroy, Paul Marshall, Rob Herring, Ricky Lutton, and Andrew Warwick.

While Ulster slipped to a surprise defeat by struggling Cardiff last weekend, Mark McCall’s Saracens side moved seven points clear in the Premiership as they clinched a fifth successive win by beating London Wasps 32-20.

Chris Ashton will go into the game as the leading try-scorer in this season’s Heineken Cup even though he was out of favour for England’s Six Nations campaign.

Ulster: J Payne, A Trimble, D Cave, L Marshall, T Bowe, P Jackson, R Pienaar, T Court, R Best, J Afoa, J Muller (capt), D Tuohy, R Wilson, N Williams, C Henry.

Replacements: R Herring, A Warwick, R Lutton, I Henderson, S Ferris, R Diack, P Marshall, C Gilroy.

Saracens: A Goode, C Ashton, D Taylor, B Barritt, D Strettle, O Farrell, R Wigglesworth, M Vunipola, S Brits, J Johnston, S Borthwick (capt), M Botha, B Vunipola, J Burger, E Joubert.

Replacements: J George, R Barrington, M Stevens, E Sheriff, K Brown, N de Kock, C Hodgson, C Wyles.