Rory Best and Darren Cave are set to make their final appearances at Kingspan Stadium on Saturday after being named in the Ulster squad for the Guinness PRO14 quarter-final against Connacht (5.35pm).
The duo, who have made a combined total of 446 appearances for Ulster to date, have both announced that they will retire from club rugby at the end of the current season.
Supporters will have the opportunity to pay tribute to both players after Saturday’s game and tickets for the crunch fixture are still available at UlsterRugby.com/BuyTickets.
Please note that as this fixture is part of the Guinness PRO14 Final Series, it is not included in the 2018/19 Season Ticket package.
Best has returned from injury and will captain the side from his role at hooker. He will be joined in the front row by Ross Kane and Eric O’Sullivan, while Iain Henderson and Kieran Treadwell will provide grunt from the second row. A loose forward combination of Nick Timoney, Jordi Murphy and Marcell Coetzee has been selected.
John Cooney and Billy Burns are re-instated into the half-back positions, with Stuart McCloskey and Luke Marshall partnered in midfield. Abbey Insurance Academy players Michael Lowry and Robert Baloucoune will line out in the back three alongside Rob Lyttle.
Rob Herring, Ulster’s top try scorer in the PRO14 this season (seven), Andy Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor and Sean Reidy are the forward replacements. Cave, Dave Shanahan and Angus Kernohan make up the match day 23.
Connacht have won the previous two encounters between the teams this season, including when the teams met in Belfast back in October.
However, Dan McFarland’s side have been in good form since the turn of the year and have lost just one PRO14 match since early January.
Ulster M Lowry; R Baloucoune, L Marshall, S McCloskey, R Lyttle; B Burns, J Cooney; E O’Sullivan, R Best (captain), R Kane, I Henderson, K Treadwell, N Timoney, J Murphy, M Coetzee;
Replacements: R Herring, A Warwick, T O’Toole, A O’Connor, S Reidy, D Shanahan, D Cave, A Kernohan.