Teams are up for Ulster Rugby’s PRO12 match against Neath Gwent Dragons which takes place this evening, Friday 24th March, at Rodney Parade. Kick off at 7.35pm, live on BBC2 NI.
There are four changes to the starting line up that featured against Zebre. Sean Reidy returns to the back row to replace the injured Marcell Coetzee and he is joined by Iain Henderson, who returns from International duty.
Darren Cave comes in at inside centre, with Jacob Stockdale making way, and Andrew Warwick swaps with Callum Black at loosehead.
Paddy Jackson also returns from International duty but will start from the bench with Stuart Olding given another run out at out half.
From the Ulster perspective the big question is how the pack will react to the absence of Coetzee. They have been playing in fits and starts without him but they will need to produce an 80 minute performance if they are to pick up the required win bonus. I guess it will all depend on how fired up Henderson is for this one.
The Dragons announced earlier this week that they are to be taken over by the Welsh Rugby Union at the end of the season, which should bring more stability in the long term but a touch of uncertainty for the current players. How they will react is anyone’s guess. However the chance to impress the new regime may raise a few individual games and with Ulster atrociously erratic this season that extra resistance may be enough to put them off their game.
The overall record between the teams in the PRO12 is 16 wins for Ulster against 10 wins for the Dragons and one draw and the Welsh side have the annoying habit of getting under Ulster’s skin, with many of the matches pretty turgid affairs.
The FRU Predicts: We’ll get a good indication of how likely Ulster are to finish in the top four from this game. A big win is needed to keep their late run on track. They should get it, but it won’t be pretty! #suftum
Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland). Weather: Dry, light wind.
|Carl Meyer||15||Jared Payne|
|Adam Hughes||14||Craig Gilroy|
|Tyler Morgan||13||Luke Marshall|
|Sam Beard||12||Darren Cave|
|Tom Prydie||11||Charles Piutau|
|Angus O’Brien||10||Stuart Olding|
|Charlie Davies||9||Ruan Pienaar|
|Sam Hobbs||1||Andrew Warwick|
|Rhys Buckley||2||Rob Herring|
|Brok Harris||3||Wiehahn Herbst|
|Nick Crosswell||4||Kieran Treadwell|
|Rynard Landman||5||Alan O’Connor|
|Ollie Griffiths||6||Iain Henderson|
|Nic Cudd||7||Chris Henry|
|Lewis Evans||8||Sean Reidy|
|Darran Harris||16||John Andrew|
|Phil Price||17||Callum Black|
|LLoyd Fairbrother||18||Rodney Ah You|
|Matthew Screech||19||Robbie Diack|
|Harrison Keddie||20||Clive Ross|
|Sarel Pretorious||21||Paul Marshall|
|Dorian Jones||22||Paddy Jackson|
|Adam Warren||23||Jacob Stockdale|