10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
Judging by Friday's 43-7 tonking of the Ospreys, Ulster are bang in form both on and off the pitch - a crowd of 10,804 filled out Ravenhill to watch the hosts dismantle the 2004/05 champions.
MAGNERS LEAGUE: Friday, September 22
ULSTER 43 OSPREYS 7, Ravenhill (Att: 10,804)
Scorers: Ulster: Tries: Rory Best, Tommy Bowe, Paul Steinmetz, Neil McMillan; Cons: David Humphreys 4; Pens: Humphreys 5
Ospreys: Try: Lee Byrne; Con: James Hook
Mark McCall's men sit in second place in the Magners League table after their most convicing win for some time, all played out in front of the league's biggest attendance of the season.
Experienced out-half David Humphreys was once again the key man for Ulster, notching 23 points in a devastating display.
Humphreys put the scoreboard workers to action with an early penalty but the visitors rallied with Justin Marshall and Gavin Henson created the space for full-back Lee Byrne, a late call-up for Stefan Terblanche, to score. James Hook slotted an excellent conversion to give the Ospreys a slim lead but that was to be their last contribution to a thoroughly one-sided game.
Humphreys closed the gap with a long range penalty and Ulster took the lead on the half hour, when hooker Rory Best, who captained the northerners against Edinburgh last week, squeezed over in the corner before his number 10 added the extras.
Another penalty from Humpreys stretched the hosts' advantage and a fourth put them firmly in control at the break, leading 19-7.
Former Wales Under-21 international Hook failed with his next attempt to reduce the arrears and the Ospreys' task was made all the more difficult when lock Alun Wyn Jones was yellow carded for a late tackle - he followed back row Ryan Jones, who walked for preventing a quick release in the 33rd-minute, into the sin bin. Humphreys added to the visitors' woes by slotting over the resultant penalty.
Ulster extended their lead after the break when returning Ireland star Tommy Bowe, who came on off the bench, grabbed a try, which Humphreys added the extras to for a 26-7 advantage.
A good break from Isaac Boss, another summer tourist, put centre Paul Steinmetz away soon after and the bonus point was Ulster's when replacement flanker Neil McMillan dived in under the posts, in spectacular fashion. Humphreys converted to top off an excellent night for the league champions - they will travel down to Cork next weekend to face Munster with renewed confidence.
Ulster: Bryn Cunningham; Mark Bartholomeusz, Paul Steinmetz, Paddy Wallace, Alan Maxwell; David Humphreys, Isaac Boss; Justin Fitzpatrick, Rory Best, Bryan Young, Justin Harrison (capt), Tim Barker, Stephen Ferris, Kieron Dawson, Roger Wilson.
Replacements used: Tommy Bowe for Maxwell, Matt McCullough for Barker (both 43 mins), Kevin Maggs for Wallace (61), Neil McMillan for Ferris (63), Paul Shields for Best (67), Kieran Campbell for Boss (70), Declan Fitzpatrick for J Fitzpatrick (72).
Ospreys: Lee Byrne; Nikki Walker, Sonny Parker, James Hook, Richard Mustoe; Gavin Henson, Justin Marshall; Duncan Jones (capt), Barry Williams, Adam Jones, Alun Wyn Jones, Ian Evans, Jonathan Thomas, Richie Pugh, Ryan Jones.
Replacements used: Stefan Terblanche for Mustoe (27-37 mins, 79-full-time), Ed Shervington for Williams, Brent Cockbain for Wyn Jones (both 63), Paul James for A Jones (70), Andrew Bishop for Byrne (74), Lee Beach for Pugh (75), Jason Spice for Marshall (79)
Referee: Peter Allan (Scotland)
Touch Judges: Ger English, Dermot Moloney (both Ireland)