South African international Johann Muller has been named in Ulster’s 29-man squad for their Heineken Cup Pool 4 showdown with Bath at Ravenhill on Saturday (kick-off 1.30pm).
Ulster head coach Brian McLaughlin has named an extended panel for this weekend’s crucial clash with Bath, who lie a point ahead of the province in Pool 4.
The selected squad includes lock Johann Muller, who injured his neck against the Cardiff Blues recently, and back rower Robbie Diack, who picked up an ankle injury in that game.
The South African duo are expected to be fit to feature against Bath, along with Ireland’s Paddy Wallace who has recovered from a sore back.
The likes of David McIlwaine, Jamie Smith, Declan Fitzpatrick and Ryan Caldwell are also pressing for selection. But centre Darren Cave is a notable absentee, with a troublesome hamstring strain sidelining him.
Discussing the wintry weather and the possibility of the game being moved away from Ravenhill, Wallace said: “It’s a home fixture for us and I would be reluctant to give that up as home advantage counts for so much in a game of this magnitude.
“If we’re left with no choice but to play the game at another venue so be it, but we’re pulling out all the stops to have the game played at the home of Ulster Rugby.
“There’s a plan in place to have all the snow removed from the Ravenhill pitch and if the thaw that’s forecast continues, we should be fine.”
He added: “Bath have so much to play for having already lost at home and they will come to Ravenhill very focused on getting a victory.
“The key thing from our perspective is that we must head to Bath next week with something to play for.”
The Ulster team and replacements will be announced on Friday afternoon.
Efforts are continuing to ensure that the Ravenhill surface is playable this Saturday. Staff and supporters cleared snow from the pitch again this morning ahead of the arrival of a pitch defrosting/heating system which will be put in place tomorrow.
ULSTER Squad (v Bath) – Backs (12): Adam D’Arcy, David McIlwaine, Jamie Smith, Simon Danielli, Andrew Trimble, Paddy Wallace, Nevin Spence, Ian Whitten, Ian Humphreys, Niall O’Connor, Paul Marshall, Ruan Pienaar.
Forwards (17): Tom Court, Declan Fitzpatrick, Paddy McAllister, Bryan Young, BJ Botha, Nigel Brady, Andi Kyriacou, Tim Barker, Neil McComb, Dan Tuohy, Ryan Caldwell, Johann Muller, Willie Faloon, Pedrie Wannenburg, Stephen Ferris, Robbie Diack, Chris Henry.