Ulster v Cardiff: Teams
At Ravenhill, Friday September 16, kick-off 7.05pm
Last Updated: 15/09/11 1:13pm
Payne: Will make Ulster debut
Ulster will hand a debut to New Zealander Jared Payne in the RaboDirect PRO12 clash with Cardiff Blues at Ravenhill on Friday.
Payne will start at full-back in place of Adam D'Arcy, who drops to the bench, with the back division being otherwise unchanged from the one that started in the victory over Aironi last time out.
There are three changes in the pack with Declan Fitzpatrick selected at loosehead prop and Lewis Stevenson coming into the second row to partner Dan Tuohy.
Robbie Diack is named at No. 8 with Chris Henry switching positions to openside flanker and Willie Faloon dropping out of the squad.
Mike McComish could make his first competitive appearance for Ulster after being named on the bench.
Cardiff have made four changes to their starting line-up as they seek to continue their perfect start to the season.
The Blues currently sit top of the table after the first two rounds of the competition and but their credentials will be tested with a tough trip to Ulster, who have also won their first two matches.
Fly-half Gareth Davies is absent after he tweaked a hamstring against Treviso last time out, with Ceri Sweeny taking over the No. 10 jersey.
Casey Laulala replaces Dafydd Hewitt at outside centre while in the pack, Xavier Rush takes the place of Andries Pretorius at No. 8 with the latter suffering from a knee injury.
Captain Paul Tito makes his return to action as he comes into the second row at the expense of Deiniol Jones.
Prop Scott Andrews admits the Blues will be facing the toughest test of the season so far after the two convincing early wins.
"I think the match is a bit of a step up," he told Cardiff's official website.
"We lost to Ulster twice quite heavily last season, so taking nothing away from Edinburgh and Treviso, it's definitely a step up and a difficult challenge."
"Obviously we got maximum points from our opening two games, so it's been the perfect start.
"We're playing a different style of rugby, with a bit more width to our game and forwards playing with ball in hand, with a lot more skill required from the forwards, so hopefully we can continue that."
Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Craig Gilroy, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Nevin Spence, 11 Ian Whitten, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Robbie Diack, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Pedrie Wannenburg, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Lewis Stevenson, 3 Jerry Cronin, 2 Andy Kyriacou, 1 Declan Fitzpatrick.
Replacements: 16 Nigel Brady, 17 Paddy McAllister, 18 Adam Macklin, 19 Neil McComb, 20 Mike McComish, 21 Ian Porter, 22 Paddy Jackson, 23 Adam D'Arcy.
Cardiff: 15 Chris Czekaj, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Tom James, 10 Ceri Sweeney, 9 Lewis Jones, 8 Xavier Rush, 7 Martyn Williams, 6 Maama Molitika, 5 Paul Tito (c), 4 Michael Paterson, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Sam Hobbs.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Williams, 17 Nathan Trevett, 18 James Monck, 19 James Down, 20 Thomas Young, 21 Richie Rees, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Dafydd Hewitt.