Ulster head coach Brian McLaughlin has named a preliminary 28-man squad for Saturday’s RaboDirect PRO12 match against Aironi at Stadio Zaffanella (kick-off 3pm local time/2pm Irish time).
Ulster are looking for a second consecutive win to continue their early push at the top of the RaboDirect PRO12.
After an impressive opening victory over Glasgow Warriors last weekend, Brian McLaughlin’s men will be hopeful of registering a first away win of the campaign in Italy.
The Ulster management will perhaps be disappointed that they were unable to gain a try-scoring bonus point against Glasgow, yet pleased that a number of opportunities were created despite the poor conditions.
Ireland international Dan Tuohy returned to competitive action and turned in a tremendous display in the set pieces and especially in the loose.
The lively centre partnership of Nevin Spence and Darren Cave was another major positive to be taken from the first league game.
Aironi have recruited well in the close season and while Ulster will be targeting a win on Saturday, they will be expecting to face a much stiffer challenge than they came up against last season.
The Italians improved throughout the campaign and the eight losing bonus points they secured demonstrated that they are not an easy team to play.
ULSTER Squad (v Aironi Rugby) – Backs (11): Paul Marshall, Ian Porter, Ian Humphreys, Paddy Jackson, Luke Marshall, Nevin Spence, Ian Whitten, Darren Cave, Craig Gilroy, Conor Gaston, Adam D’Arcy.
Forwards (17): Paddy McAllister, Callum Black, Jerry Cronin, Adam Macklin, Declan Fitzpatrick, John Burns, Andi Kyriacou, Nigel Brady, Lewis Stevenson, Dan Tuohy, Tim Barker, Neil McComb, Mike McComish, Pedrie Wannenburg, Willie Faloon, Chris Henry, Robbie Diack.