Darren Cave's rich vein of form continues with a try against Zebre. Picture from BBC Sport.

The road to the World Cup starts here for Cave. (Picture BBC Sport) 

Rory Best makes his first appearance of the season for tomorrow’s PRO12 fixture against Zebre at Ravenhill. Kick Off 7:35 pm.

Best is one of eight changes from the topsy turvy draw in Llanelli as he is joined in the starting line up by Andrew Warwick, Lewis Stevenson, Nick Williams, Ricky Andrew, Andrew Trimble, Luke Marshall and Darren Cave, with Cave also making his first appearance of the season.


15 Ricky Andrew
14 Andrew Trimble
13 Darren Cave
12 Luke Marshall
11 Craig Gilroy
10 Ian Humphreys
9 Paul Marshall
1 Andrew Warwick
2 Rory Best
3 Wiehahn Herbst
4 Lewis Stevenson
5 Dan Tuohy
6 Robbie Diack
7 Chris Henry
8 Nick Williams
16 Rob Herring
17 Rhaudri Murphy
18 Bronson Ross
19 Franco van der Merwe
20 Roger Wilson
21 Michael Heaney
22 Stuart Olding
23 Louis Ludik

Injury to Jared Payne has given the IRFU an opportunity to look at Plan B in the centre with Cave, once again, teaming up with Luke Marshall. It’s always a mystery to me that the Irish set up hasn’t pencilled Cave’s name in for the vacant BOD spot, and simply picked whoever can play with him, most likely Olding, but there you go. Certainly he’ll have a chance to show his abilities to the full against a fairly weak Zebre and Ulster will have to produce a better performance than the last two stilted outings against the Italians!

Another player needing a big game, albeit for different reasons, is Wiehahn Herbst who has failed to impress in his limited game time. His season so far has been, literally,  on, off, on again in the front row and, though I believe he had a good outing against Leinster, I have still to see a performance of note.


15 Hendrik Daniller
14 David Odiete
13 Giulio Bisegni
12 Gonzalo Garcia
11 Giulio Toniolatti
10 Kelly Haimona
9 Brendon Leonard
1 Andrea De Marchi
2 Andrea Handles 
3 Dario Chistolini
4 Andries Ferreira
5 George Biagi
6 Mauro Bergamasco
7 Philip Cristiano
8 Andries Van Schalkwyk
16 Oliviero Fabiani
17 Andrea Lovotti 
18 Luciano Leibson
19 Valerio Bernabo
20 Quintin Geldenhuys
21 Samuela Vunisa
22 William Palazzani
23 Edward Padovani

Early days yet, but if he continues to fly under the radar in this game then it will be a concern.

As for the rest, it should really be a routine five pointer against a struggling team and the starting XV should be more than able of producing the goods. If not there is plenty of class on the bench, Olding, Ludik and Wilson in particular, that can come on.

The FRU Predicts: Five points and six tries for Ulster and a couple of soft ones to Zebre. #SUFTUM.