Fly-half Ross Byrne returns to the starting XV for Heineken Champions Cup runners-up Leinster Rugby as they travel to Irish rivals Ulster Rugby in a massive United Rugby Championship (URC) contest on Friday.

Byrne, who tallied 51 points in the Heineken Champions Cup last season, takes the number 10 shirt at Kingspan Stadium after coming off the bench in Leinster’s 42-10 triumph over Benetton Rugby last weekend.

The 27-year-old is one of three changes made by head coach Leo Cullen, with lock Ross Molony and No.8 Jack Conan also recalled.

Lock James Ryan and fly-half Johnny Sexton, who were key figures in Leinster’s run to the Heineken Champions Cup final last campaign, could make their first appearances of this season from the bench.

Meanwhile, Ulster, who are level with Leinster at the summit of the URC after the opening two rounds, have made just one alteration to the team who started their entertaining 55-39 win at Scarlets last Saturday, with Tom O’Toole replacing Marty Moore at tight-head prop.

Luke Marshall retains his place at outside centre and will make his 150th appearance for the Irish province.

Vodacom Bulls are the other Heineken Champions Cup side in URC action on Friday and they have made several changes to their line-up as they welcome Connacht Rugby to Loftus Versfeld.

Prop Francois Klopper and flanker Marco van Staden are brought into the starting pack, having been replacements in last Saturday’s thrilling 33-31 win over Edinburgh Rugby.

Sbu Nkosi and Canan Moodie start on the wings as the back line is tweaked, with Cornal Hendricks shifting to outside centre, Kurt-Lee Arendse coming in at full-back and Johan Goosen slotting in at fly-half.