ULSTER will field their least experienced side of the season to date in this evening's PRO14 encounter with Leinster at the RDS Arena as head coach Dan McFarland hedges his bets ahead of the upcoming European double header.
IT was a year in which the rugby world sat up and took notice after Ireland's stunning first-ever win over the New Zealand All Blacks on home soil was to ensure Joe Schmidt's last full year in charge of the team was to end on an historic and gloriously successful note.
ULSTER will be without Irish internationals Rory Best and Jacob Stockdale for tonight's PRO14 game with Connacht in Galway as head coach Dan McFarland makes four changes from the side that beat Munster last week.
WHILE Ulster will be without a few big hitters for tonight's PRO14 clash at Kingspan Stadium, Munster are more seriously depleted, so hopes will be high that Dan McFarland's men can make it six wins from the last seven in all competitions.
ALTHOUGH Sean Cavanagh tried his hands and feet at various football codes, including soccer and rugby, before becoming a Gaelic football star with Tyrone, his first Ulster medal was actually won at basketball.
JUST over 18 months after being on the losing side for junior outfit Enniskillen in the Towns' Cup final against Ballynahinch II, Robert Balacoune made a happier return to Kingspan Stadium on a much bigger stage on Friday night when he made an impressive debut in Ulster's 36-18 PRO14 win over the Dragons.