24 May, 14:08
The Irish Rugby Supporters Club is delighted to announce that tickets for the GUINNESS Series 2013 will go on sale on ticketmaster.ie at 10am on Thursday, May 30.
Ulster's new players will be given every chance to impress coach Mark McCall as he has vowed to pick his side based "on performance", and not last season's Celtic League success.
McCall's hand was forced this week and will be for the next few weeks as he is without nine of last term's starting line-up due to Ireland squad commitments and injuries.
His only difficult call for Saturday's visit of Llanelli Scarlets to Ravenhill was whether to start Ireland-capped flanker Kieron Dawson, or fit Roger Wilson, who is available again after suspension, into his back row.
Dawson has lost out with Stephen Ferris, Neil McMillan and Wilson being reunited at the back of Ulster's scrum, but he has been included in the match day 22. Fortune has favoured the province's other summer signings - prop Tom Court, lock Tim Barker and winger Mark Bartholomeusz - all three will start against the Welsh region.
With Dawson's competitive debut also planned for the second half, all four will hope to steak a claim for a regular spot and gain a headstart on the absent Ireland stars.
McCall admitted: "The selection (for Saturday's game) was difficult in a few areas of the team. The back row is a particular area where we have got quality right through.
"Kieron Dawson has played really well in the two pre-season friendlies and I think he will have a significant role to play in the second half, but the starting back row isn't bad.
"At centre, Kevin Maggs has had two very strong games as well but we like the balance that Paddy Wallace and Paul Steinmetz bring to our game with kicking and passing options.
"It's good that there is that kind of competition and if we are true to our word, we are going to pick on performance - what happens in the past becomes irrelevant."
Backing Wilson's claims on the number 8 jersey, he added: "In Roger's case he was unavailable because of his suspension and he has been training extremely hard and working extremely hard. We're happy that he will bring some go-forward and physicality into the pack."