GUINNESS PRO12: Tommy Bowe starts for Ulster against Zebre

Tommy Bowe will play his first senior match of the season for Ulster after returning from a knee injury sustained on World Cup duty with Ireland last October.

Tommy Bowe at Ulster's Captain's Run on Thursday
Tommy Bowe at Ulster's Captain's Run on Thursday

British Lion Bowe will start against Zebre in Saturday’s Guinness PRO12 clash.

Andrew Trimble was unable to travel after picking up an illness, so Bowe is selected on the right wing for the game at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi (4pm BST).

Bowe will be joined in the back three by Craig Gilroy and Jared Payne, who was Man of the Match in the win over Connacht a fortnight ago.

Franco van der Merwe will make his 50th appearance for the club on Saturday, a considerable feat given that he is in just his second season with the Province.

Stuart Olding comes into the backline at inside centre in place of Stuart McCloskey, who is unavailable due to a shoulder injury. He will be partnered in midfield by Luke Marshall, while Ruan Pienaar and Paddy Jackson will direct affairs from the half back positions.

Rory Best will captain the side from hooker, with Callum Black and Ricky Lutton continuing alongside him in the front row. Pete Browne is named as van der Merwe’s second row partner.

Sean Reidy, Iain Henderson and Roger Wilson form the back row trio as Nick Williams continues to be ruled out by a shoulder injury.

Rob Herring, Kyle McCall, Andy Warwick, Robbie Diack, Chris Henry, Paul Marshall, Darren Cave and Rory Scholes are named on a strong bench.

Ulster: J Payne; T Bowe, L Marshall, S Olding, C Gilroy; P Jackson, R Pienaar; C Black, R Best (captain), R Lutton, P Browne, F van der Merwe, I Henderson, S Reidy, R Wilson

Replacements: R Herring, K McCall, A Warwick, R Diack, C Henry, P Marshall, D Cave, R Scholes.