Following last weekend’s impressive 43-16 victory away to the Saints Cullen was left with a couple of injuries that have forced his hand, with captain Johnny Sexton and Ronan Kelleher suffering with knee and hand injuries respectively are replaced by Ross Byrne and James Tracy.
Elsewhere in the pack Tadhg Furlong makes a return to the front-row, while Scott Fardy starts the game as captain, while the only other change sees Luke McGrath come in to partner Byrne in the half-backs.
With those changes it means that in the front-row Cian Healy is the only one retained from last weekend and is joined by Tracy and Furlong, with Fardy slotting into the second-row alongside James Ryan.
There are no changes to the back-row as Rhys Ruddock lines-up as blindside-flanker, with Josh van der Flier at openside and Caelan Doris continues at No 8.
As mentioned above it’s McGrath and Byrne at scrum-half and fly-half respectively, and they have Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose outside them in the midfield pairing.
It’s also an unchanged back-three with James Lowe on the left-wing, Dave Kearney on the right and Jordan Larmour finishes up the XV from full-back.
Cullen has plenty of experience to call upon from the bench if needed with the likes of Andrew Porter, Devin Toner, Jamison Gibson-Park and Rob Kearney among the replacements.
Speaking ahead of the game centre Ringrose, who has been in brilliant form since returning from the Rugby World Cup, knows how big the game is and knows that some of the squad played in the same fixture back in 2013 when Leinster lost and will want to right that wrong.
“Some of the guys were involved in the 2013 loss to Saints at the Aviva. That will serve as a reminder this week,” he said.
Leinster know that a win would put them in pole position to not only make the knock-out stages but finish as winners of Pool 1. A fourth win from four in the competition would be perfect for the boys in blue, however, they will be all too aware that Northampton will want revenge after last week’s trashing and will be tough opponents.
Check Out the Full 23-Man Squad Below.
15. Jordan Larmour (42)
14. Dave Kearney (142)
13. Garry Ringrose (68)
12. Robbie Henshaw (40)
11. James Lowe (37)
10. Ross Byrne (80)
9. Luke McGrath (117)
1. Cian Healy (212)
2. James Tracy (102)
3. Tadhg Furlong (104)
4. Scott Fardy (51) (c)
5. James Ryan (34)
6. Rhys Ruddock (165)
7. Josh van der Flier (76)
8. Calean Doris (24)
16. Bryan Byrne (44)
17. Ed Byrne (49)
18. Andrew Porter (57)
19. Devin Toner (240)
20. Max Deegan (55)
21. Jamison Gibson-Park (80)
22. Ciarán Frawley (16)
23. Rob Kearney (213)
Ulster name team for Northampton Quarter-Final trip
Michael Lowry is named to start at full-back, and is joined in the back three by Jacob Stockdale and Robert Baloucoune. Stuart McCloskey and James Hume will form the midfield duo, and Billy Burns and John Cooney are the starting half-backs.
In the front row, Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring and Marty Moore retain their starting berths. Alan O’Connor will partner Kieran Treadwell in the second row. Last week’s Player of the Match, Sean Reidy, will start at blindside flanker, with Jordi Murphy skippering the team at openside and Nick Timoney at Number Eight.
John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Matty Rea and Greg Jones will provide the forward reinforcements from the bench, with Alby Mathewson, Ian Madigan and Ethan McIlroy named as the back line options.
Ulster team to play Northampton Saints, Challenge Cup Quarter-Final, Saturday 10 April at Franklin’s Gardens (kick-off 8pm, live on BT Sport):
(15-9) Michael Lowry, Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Billy Burns, John Cooney;
(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Kieran Treadwell, Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy (Capt.), Nick Timoney.
Replacements: John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Matty Rea, Greg Jones, Alby Mathewson, Ian Madigan, Ethan McIlroy.
Big names miss out for Ulster
The back line sees just one change from the side that played Toulouse last Friday. Michael Lowry, Jacob Stockdale and Matt Faddes all retain their positions in the back three. Stuart McCloskey and James Hume are the starting midfield duo. Billy Burns returns at fly-half and will captain the side; he will partner John Cooney at scrum-half.
The front row remains unchanged for this game. Rob Herring is named at hooker, with Eric O’Sullivan and Marty Moore packing down at loosehead and tighthead prop. Alan O’Connor will partner with his brother David – who will make his first Heineken Champions Cup start with Sam Carter missing out through concussion. Sean Reidy has been selected at blindside, with Jordi Murphy returning at openside. Nick Timoney comes in to start at Number Eight to replace the injured Marcel Coetzee.
John Andrew, Kyle McCall, Tom O’Toole, Matty Rea, and Greg Jones are the forward bench options. Academy player, Ethan McIlroy could make his European debut if called upon from the bench, and is named alongside Alby Mathewson and Ian Madigan in the back line replacements.
Ulster team to play Gloucester, Heineken Champions Cup Round 2, Saturday 19 December 2020 at Kingsholm Stadium, kick-off 3.15pm, live on BT Sport / beIN Sport:
(15-9) Michael Lowry, Matt Faddes, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Billy Burns (Capt.), John Cooney;
(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, David O’Connor, Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy, Nick Timoney.
Replacements: John Andrew, Kyle McCall, Tom O’Toole, Matty Rea, Greg Jones, Alby Mathewson, Ian Madigan, Ethan McIlroy.
Ulster name strong side to face Toulouse
In the back three, Jacob Stockdale returns from international duty to the left wing, joining Michael Lowry at full-back and Matt Faddes on the right wing. In midfield, Stuart McCloskey also returns from the Ireland squad to partner with James Hume. Ian Madigan has been named at fly-half alongside John Cooney at scrum-half.
Having made his international debut against Scotland last week, Eric O’Sullivan, comes in to take the starting berth at loosehead prop. Rob Herring also returns from Ireland duties and is named at hooker, with Marty Moore retaining his position at tighthead. Alan O’Connor will partner with Sam Carter, who will lead the side from the second row. Sean Reidy and Jordi Murphy are named at blindside and openside, with Marcell Coetzee completing the pack at Number Eight.
John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, David O’Connor, and Matty Rea provide the forward options, with Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore and Craig Gilroy offering back line cover from the bench.
Ulster team to play Toulouse, Heineken Champions Cup Round 1, Friday 11 December 2020 at Kingspan Stadium, kick-off 8pm, live on BT Sport / beIN Sport:
(15-9) Michael Lowry, Matt Faddes, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Ian Madigan, John Cooney;
(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Sam Carter (Capt.), Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy, Marcell Coetzee.
Replacements: John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, David O’Connor, Matty Rea, Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore, Craig Gilroy.