Craig Gilroy among five Ulster players in Irish Wolfhounds team
Craig Gilroy is among five Ulster players named in the Ireland Wolfhounds team for Saturday's game against England Saxons at Kingsholm.
Gilroy was drafted into Ireland's Six Nations squad on Tuesday and the game offers him the chance to impress ahead of the 2 February clash with Scotland.
Other Ulster players Darren Cave, Iain Henderson, Dan Tuohy and Rob Herring will also start for the Wolfhounds.
Cardiff's Robin Copeland will start but Simon Zebo is named on the bench.
Zebo only returned to action last weekend when coming on as a replacement for Munster against Edinburgh after three months out because of a broken foot.
The Lions wing looked sharp as he scored a try after being introduced at Thomond Park but he has to be content with a bench role at Kingsholm.
Uncapped Copeland, who will move to Munster at the end of this season, partners skipper Rhys Ruddock and Tommy O'Donnell in the back row.
O'Donnell's selection suggests that Chris Henry is favourite to replace injured Sean O'Brien in the Irish back row for the Six Nations opener against the Scots.
Henderson and Tuohy form an all-Ulster second row with hooker Herring packing down with Munster's David Kilcoyne and Leinster prospect Martin Moore in the front row.
Like Gilroy, the match will offer Leinster wing Fergus McFadden the chance to prove his fitness to Joe Schmidt after playing very little rugby recently because of injury.
Ian Madigan's selection at half-back alongside Isaac Boss suggests that Paddy Jackson remains ahead of the Leinster number 10 in the Irish fly-half pecking order.
Cave will be partnered at centre by Connacht's young star Robbie Henshaw.
The replacements include Ulster's Robbie Diack plus Richardt Strauss, Jack McGrath, Jordi Murphy and Kieran Marmion.
Strauss made his return to action three months after heart surgery when coming off the bench in Leinster's win over Castres last weekend.
Connacht scrum-half Marmion is eligible to feature at Kingsholm after being cleared of a citing charge on Thursday arising from last weekend's Heineken Cup hammering by Saracens.
Ireland Wolfhounds: Felix Jones (Munster); Fergus McFadden (Leinster), Robbie Henshaw (Connacht), Darren Cave (Ulster), Craig Gilroy (Ulster); Ian Madigan (Leinster), Isaac Boss (Leinster); David Kilcoyne (Munster), Rob Herring (Ulster), Martin Moore (Leinster); Iain Henderson (Ulster), Dan Tuohy (Ulster); Rhys Ruddock (Leinster capt), Tommy O'Donnell (Munster), Robin Copeland (Cardiff Blues).
Replacements: Richardt Strauss (Leinster), Jack McGrath (Leinster), Stephen Archer (Munster), Robbie Diack (Ulster), Jordi Murphy (Leinster), Kieran Marmion (Connacht), Ian Keatley (Munster), Simon Zebo (Munster)