Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin has named a 30-man squad for this Sunday’s Heineken Cup Pool 4 match against Biarritz Olympique at the Parc des Sports Aguilera (kick-off 4pm local time/3pm Irish time).
Stephen Ferris (shoulder girdle/ribs) and BJ Botha (wrist), who both sustained injuries in Ulster’s Magners League match against Connacht last month, are available for selection.
However, full-back Jamie Smith (shoulder) and centre Darren Cave (knee) are facing a race against time to prove their fitness for Sunday’s game.
Previewing Ulster’s second outing in Pool 4, head coach Brian McLaughlin said: “We made a winning start last weekend. Now we want to go to France and prove that we’re capable of beating a team that played in last season’s Heineken Cup final.
“This is an opportunity to show that we have improved since last season.
“Biarritz are a very talented outfit, with Dimitri Yachvili making them tick from scrum half, but we feel we can get something from the game.
“We can’t afford to make the same mistakes that we did against Aironi or they will punish us. We created numerous opportunities against Aironi but we failed to execute many of them, although we came away with four tries and a bonus point in the end.
“We won’t get half as many opportunities against Biarritz so it is important that when we have an opportunity to score, we take it.”
Biarritz opened their European campaign last weekend with a 12-11 win at Bath, while Ulster secured a 30-6 home victory over Aironi, with tries from Andrew Trimble, Ian Humphreys, Simon Danielli and Ruan Pienaar propelling them to the top of the pool.
The Ulster starting line-up and replacements to face Biarritz will be announced on Friday afternoon.
David Pollock, Declan Fitzpatrick and Adam Macklin remain on the province’s injury list.
ULSTER Squad (v Biarritz Olympique) – Backs (14): Adam D’Arcy, Jamie Smith, David McIlwaine, Simon Danielli, Andrew Trimble, Nevin Spence, Darren Cave, Ian Whitten, Paddy Wallace, Ian Humphreys, Niall O’Connor, Ruan Pienaar, Paul Marshall, Ian Porter.
Forwards (16): Tom Court, Paddy McAllister, Bryan Young, BJ Botha, Rory Best, Nigel Brady, Andi Kyriacou, Tim Barker, Johann Muller, Ryan Caldwell, Dan Tuohy, Willie Faloon, Stephen Ferris, Robbie Diack, Pedrie Wannenburg, Chris Henry.