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Ulster have named the fit-again Billy Burns at out-half for Saturday's Heineken Champions Cup game away to Gloucester. 

Burns hasn't played since suffering a groin injury in his first start for Ireland against Georgia in the Autumn Nations Cup.

He replaces Ian Madigan, and will captain the Ulster side against his former employers.

Burns' introduction is one of four changes made from last week's 29-22 defeat at home to Toulouse.

The rest of the backline is preserved, with the other three changes coming in the pack.

Marcell Coetzee hasn't passed the return-to-play protocols having suffered a concussion in last week's loss, and his place at number-8 goes to Nick Timoney.

There's another switch in the back-row with Jordi Murphy starting at openside flanker in place of Matty Rea.

Meanwhile, David O'Connor will pack down alongside his brother Alan in the second row.

"What’s been huge for us is making sure we’re playing our game," prop Eric O'Sullivan said of the Kingsholm test, "And not being influenced by the team we’re playing.

"We go there to play rugby with our philosophy. With no fans, it’s a completely different atmosphere.

"It’s even more important because it’s so much easier to go and force your game if there isn’t a crowd to get behind the team to lift them. 

"As long as we’re getting our game right, it makes those away fixtures a bit less daunting."

Ulster:
15. Michael Lowry, 14. Matt Faddes, 13. James Hume, 12. Stuart McCloskey, 11. Jacob Stockdale, 10. Billy Burns (Capt.), 9. John Cooney; 
1. Eric O’Sullivan, 2. Rob Herring, 3. Marty Moore, 4. Alan O’Connor, 5. David O’Connor, 6. Sean Reidy, 7. Jordi Murphy, 8. Nick Timoney.

Replacements: 
John Andrew, Kyle McCall, Tom O’Toole, Matty Rea, Greg Jones, Alby Mathewson, Ian Madigan, Ethan McIlroy.

Gloucester:
15. Kyle Moyle, 14. Charlie Sharples, 13. Chris Harris, 12. Mark Atkinson, 11. Louis Rees-Zammit, 10. Lloyd Evans, 9. Charlie Chapman.
1. Val Rapava-Ruskin, 2. Jack Singleton, 3. Ciaran Knight, 4. Ed Slater, 5. Matias Alemanno, 6. Jordy Reid. 7. Lewis Ludlow (capt.), 8. Ruan Ackermann.

Replacements: 
16. Henry Walker, 17. Alex Seville, 18. Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19. Alex Craig, 20. Seb Nagle-Taylor, 21. Toby Venner, 22. George Barton, 23. Henry Trinder.

RONAN O’GARA | The Champions Cup shake-up and coaching priorities


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