Ulster coach Mark McCall has named a 25-man squad for the province’s opening Heineken Cup pool match against Gloucester on Friday (Ravenhill, kick-off 8pm), with flanker Kieron Dawson included in the selection despite being stretchered off during last weekend’s Magners League defeat to Glasgow.
Dawson injured his knee in Ulster’s 25-6 defeat to Glasgow and while his is still being considered for selection on Friday night, it seems unlikely that the former Ireland international will be risked.
Commenting on Dawson’s injury, Mark McCall said: “Kieron’s injury is not as serious as we had first thought. He is not definitely ruled out, but we will continue to assess him over the coming days.”
McCall has kept the faith with the same extended squad that was named for the Magners League clash against Glasgow – with the only change seeing the more experienced Nigel Brady preferred to Stuart Philpott as replacement hooker.
Scotland winger Simon Danielli, who joined the province during the summer, has also been included in the 25-man panel, as have the Ireland Under-20s’ successful 2007 captain David Pollock and fit-again Ireland lock Matt McCullough.
Ulster last took on Gloucester just two months ago in a pre-season friendly at Ravenhill. The match was a closely fought affair and despite Ulster’s impressive performance, the visitors took away a 23-19 win.
“Obviously Gloucester are riding high in the Guinness Premiership and are having a strong season so far. They have one of the strongest squads in European rugby and are always formidable opponents,” McCall added.
The Ulster starting line-up and replacements will be announced at noon on Thursday, while terrace tickets for the game are still available. You can purchase tickets here from the Ulster Rugby ticket office. You can also telephone the office directly at 028 9049 3222 (Option 2) or alternatively call in to the Ravenhill counter.
ULSTER Squad (v Gloucester):Forwards (14) – Neil Best, Rory Best (capt), Nigel Brady, Ryan Caldwell, Kieron Dawson, Carlo Del Fava, Stephen Ferris, Declan Fitzpatrick, Justin Fitzpatrick, Justin Harrison, Matt McCullough, Roger Wilson, Bryan Young, David Pollock.
Backs (11) – Mark Bartholomeusz, Isaac Boss, Tommy Bowe, Bryn Cunningham, Rob Dewey, David Humphreys, Kieran Campbell, Mark McCrea, Andrew Trimble, Paddy Wallace, Simon Danielli.