Ulster Preview: Andrew Trimble World Cup hopes are still intact
The tie of the opening round takes place in Belfast tonight where Ulster, led by hooker Rob Herring, will engage The Ospreys (KO 7.35, BBC2).
The most important measurement, outside the result, will be how Andrew Trimble will react to his omission from the World Cup.
There is every chance the valiant wing will still be needed by Ireland as the attrition takes its toll.
Peter Nelson, more commonly seen at centre or full-back, will start at fly-half with just two backs on the bench.
This is something of an emergency choice as Ian Humphreys (hamstring) and Sam Windsor (Achilles) are unavailable.
Ulster: L Ludik; A Trimble, L Marshall, S McCloskey, C Gilroy; P Nelson, P Marshall; A Warwick, R Herring (capt), W Herbst, D Tuohy, F Van der Merwe, R Wilson, W Faloon, N Williams.
Ospreys: D Evans; K Phillips, J Spratt, B John, T Grabham; S Davies, T Habberfield; M Thomas, S Parry, D Arhip, L Ashely (capt), De Kock Steenkamp, J Bearman, L Evans, G Delve.