Ulster v Scarlets (Sun)

Ulster fly-half Paddy Jackson

Paddy Jackson got just 20 minutes of playing time during the 2015 World Cup

Fly-half Paddy Jackson will lead Ulster for the first time in Sunday’s crucial Pro12 match against the Scarlets.

The 24-year-old has been disappointed at not being involved in Ireland’s Six Nations campaign, but his availability is a boost to table-toppers Ulster.

Number eight Roger Wilson will make his 200th appearance for the Belfast team.

Scarlets, just a point behind Ulster, have included Wales Six Nations squad member Aled Davies at scrum-half for Sunday’s match.

Thirteen1 players were released to Wales’ regions for the weekend’s games, but the uncapped Davies, 23, was the only Scarlets player among them.

Ulster pair Ruan Pienaar and Ian Humphreys, who had to go through ‘return to play’ protocols following concussion, are on the replacements’ bench.

Rob Herring has a slight hamstring injury so John Andrew will make his first senior start at hooker

Rory Best, Jared Payne and Andrew Trimble are not available to Ulster as they are on international duty..

Ulster go into the 15th round of league action top of the table while Scarlets lie fourth, but only a point separates the two sides, who both won last week.

Scarlets beat Edinburgh 22-21 and Ulster triumphed 13-10 over Glasgow last Friday.

The west Wales region have not won away in the Pro12 since beating Treviso in December, 2015 while Ulster have not lost at home since Glasgow won there in September, 2013.

Meanwhile Ulster have secured centre Stuart Olding until the end of the 2018-19 season and prop Rhodri Jones is to depart Scarlets for Ospreys at the end of the current campaign.

Ulster: S Olding, C Gilroy, D Cave, L Marshall, J Stockdale, P Jackson (capt), P Marshall; A Warwick, J Andrew, R Lutton, A O’Connor, F van der Merwe, R Diack, C Henry, R Wilson.

Replacements: J Murphy, K McCall, B Ross, P Browne, C Ross, R Pienaar, I Humphreys, S Arnold.

Scarlets: M Collins, G Owen, R King, H Parkes (capt), DTH van der Merwe, A Thomas, A Davies, P John, K Myhill, P Edwards, G Earle, D Bulbring, A Shingler, W Boyde, M Allen.

Replacements: R Elias, D Evans, R Jones, M Paulino, R Pitman, R Williams, D Jones, S Evans.

Referee: Ian Davies (WRU)

Assistant referees: Nigel Correll, John Carvill (IRFU)

Citing commissioner: Eddie Walsh (IRFU)

TMO: Alan Rogan (IRFU)

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