Ulster has made five personnel changes for the RaboDirect PRO12 showdown with Zebre this Sunday at the Stadio XXV Aprile.

Ireland props Tom Court and Declan Fitzpatrick have been released from international duty and have been named on the bench.

Half backs Michael Heaney and Niall O’Connor have been included in the starting line up in place of Paul Marshall and Ruan Pienaar, both of whom are on international duty this weekend.

Jared Payne will continue at outside centre alongside Paddy Wallace, after scoring a brace of tries in a very impressive performance against Edinburgh earlier this month.

Michael Allen returns to the team for the first time since picking up an ankle injury against Cardiff in September. His inclusion on the right wing results in Chris Cochrane switching to the left flank in place of Ireland XV player Craig Gilroy.

Academy fullback Ricky Andrew will earn his second start.

Ulster team to face Zebre:
R Andrew; M Allen, J Payne, P Wallace, C Cochrane; N O’Connor, M Heaney; C Black, N Brady (capt), J Afoa, R Diack, N McComb, N Williams, M McComish, R Wilson;

Replacements: R Herring, T Court, D Fitzpatrick, J Simpson, A Birch, B McIlroy, S Olding, P Nelson.