Jared Payne signs deal to keep him at Ulster until 2018
IRELAND back Jared Payne has put pen to paper on a new deal with the IRFU that will keep him at Ulster until 2018.
The new deal will extend a career that began with the province five years ago and has comprised 63 appearances and 14 tries. The 30-year-old made his Test debut in 2014 and has won 12 caps, most recently starting at outside centre against Wales and France in this year's RBS Six Nations.
"Jared is an incredibly astute and intelligent rugby player," Ulster director of rugby Les Kiss said.
"He adds experience and calm to any backline and will continue to be an important player for Ulster for years to come."
Meanwhile, Glasgow Warriors and Munster meet on Friday at Rugby Park in Kilmarnock in a repeat of last year's PRO12 final. Following their involvement in the Six Nations games, Donnacha Ryan, Tommy O'Donnell and James Cronin are available for Munster
O'Donnell and Ryan are two of three changes to the pack, while Cronin is named amongst the replacements. The only other change up front comes at hooker, with Niall Scannell packing down between Dave Kilcoyne and John Ryan. Billy Holland makes the positional switch to start alongside Ryan in the second-row while, in the back-row, O'Donnell starts at seven, with Jack O'Donoghue moving to six and Robin Copeland remaining at eight.
The first of two changes across the backline is in the half-backs, with Tomás O'Leary once again resuming his partnership with Ian Keatley. The second is in midfield, where David Johnston comes in to pair with Rory Scannell.
Ahead of the clash, captain Holland spoke of the importance of the game: "We have a game in hand and plenty to go," said Holland.
"No panic buttons have been pressed yet, but [it] is huge in terms of keeping in touch with the top four and staying ahead of Glasgow and Ospreys who are still behind us," he added.
"It's hugely important."