Ruan Pienaar makes 100th appearance for Ulster against Leinster

Ulster and South African scrumhalf, Ruan Pienaar
Ulster and South African scrumhalf, Ruan Pienaar

Ruan Pienaar will make his 100th appearance for Ulster after being named in the team to play Leinster at the RDS on Friday (kick off 7.35pm).

Director of Rugby, Les Kiss, continues to manage his playing roster and he has introduced four new faces to his starting team for the Guinness PRO12 clash; Kyle McCall, Robbie Diack and Sean Reidy are included in the pack and Peter Nelson is named at fullback.

Pienaar will play his landmark game alongside Paddy Jackson at half back, with Stuart McCloskey and Darren Cave continuing their midfield partnership. Nelson is joined in the back three by Craig Gilroy and Andrew Trimble.

Iain Henderson will start at lock for Ulster for the first time this season, following his appearance in the back row last weekend. He will combine with fellow Ireland international Dan Tuohy in the second row, with Franco van der Merwe earning a break.

McCall will have captain Rory Best and Wiehahn Herbst beside him in the front row, while the loose forward trio is made up of Diack, Reidy and number 8 Nick Williams.

Kiss has once again opted to freshen up the replacements bench, with Chris Henry providing vital experience alongside Rob Herring, Roger Wilson, Paul Marshall, Ian Humphreys and Louis Ludik. Andrew Warwick and Ricky Lutton will provide cover for the front row players.

Meanwhile, Leinster coach Leo Cullen has made a total of eight changes to a side which crashed to back-to-back European defeats by Wasps and Bath.

Cullen has made four changes to the pack which lost in Bath last weekend.

Jack McGrath replaces Cian Healy while Tadhg Furlong and Mike McCarthy are also included.

Josh van der Flier starts in the back row after his try-scoring debut in the Champions Cup against Bath last weekend.

Leinster: R Kearney; Z Kirchner, Ben Te’o, I Madigan, L Fitzgerald; J Sexton, L McGrath; J McGrath, S Cronin, T Furlong; D Toner, M McCarthy; R Ruddock, J van der Flier, J Heaslip (capt).

Replacements: J Tracy, P Dooley, M Moore, R Molony, D Ryan, E Reddan, N Reid, G Ringrose.

Ulster: Peter Nelson, Andrew Trimble, Darren Cave, Stuart McCloskey, Craig Gilroy, Paddy Jackson, Ruan Pienaar; (1-8): Kyle McCall, Rory Best (captain), Wiehahn Herbst, Iain Henderson, Dan Tuohy, Robbie Diack, Sean Reidy, Nick Williams;

Replacements: Rob Herring, Andrew Warwick, Ricky Lutton, Roger Wilson, Chris Henry, Paul Marshall, Ian Humphreys, Louis Ludik.