Ulster academy player Robert Baloucoune will make his senior debut on Friday night after being named on the wing for his side's Guinness PRO14 Round 7 game against Dragons.

Rugby 7s star Baloucoune is one of three Academy players in the starting team, with fullback Michael Lowry and loosehead prop Eric O’Sullivan also included.

Australia international Henry Speight has recovered from a knee injury he picked up against the Cheetahs in September and will join Baloucoune and Lowry in the back three.

Will Addison, who earned his first international call up this week, will partner Stuart McCloskey in midfield, while Dave Shanahan and Johnny McPhillips will combine in the half back positions.

O’Sullivan will pack down alongside his captain and Banbridge clubmate Rory Best, as well as Marty Moore. Iain Henderson and Kieran Treadwell are paired together in the second row, with Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy and Marcell Coetzee selected as the loose forward trio.

Rob Herring, who also sustained an injury (toe) against the Cheetahs, has returned to the squad and will provide backup for Rory Best at hooker. Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor and Greg Jones, who could feature for the first time since January, are the other forward replacements.

Jonny Stewart, Craig Gilroy and Academy winger Angus Kernohan are the backline options for Head Coach Dan McFarland.

Ulster team: M Lowry; R Baloucoune, W Addison, S McCloskey, H Speight; J McPhillips, D Shanahan; E O’Sullivan, R Best (captain), M Moore, I Henderson, K Treadwell, S Reidy, J Murphy, M Coetzee;

Replacements R Herring, A Warwick, T O’Toole, A O’Connor, G Jones, J Stewart, A Kernohan, C Gilroy.