Ulster head coach Brian McLaughlin has named a 34-man squad ahead of Saturday’s all-important Heineken Cup round 6 encounter with Clermont Auvergne at the Stade Marcel Michelin (kick-off 3.40pm Irish time/4.40pm local time).
Centre Darren Cave will miss the trip after he picked up a foot injury in last Friday’s win over Leicester Tigers. He is likely to be out for six weeks with ligament damage.
There are no other fresh injuries from last weekend’s game and prop Paddy McAllister is back in contention for selection after missing the previous three games through injury.
Nevin Spence has been back at training for over a week and will compete with Ian Whitten to partner Paddy Wallace at centre in Cave’s absence.
Clermont Auvergne have not lost at the Stade Marcel Michelin since November 2009, highlighting the difficulty of the task facing Ulster.
However, the province’s head coach Brian McLaughlin will be quietly confident of his own side producing a result following their comprehensive 41-7 victory over Leicester.
Ulster are currently top of Pool 4 on 19 points, with Clermont Auvergne three behind them. Ulster know that a win or a draw in France would be enough to secure their progression to the last-eight as pool winners.
Even a loss by less than five points, providing they score the same amount of tries as Clermont Auvergne on Saturday, would be enough.
If Clermont Auvergne win by more than that margin, Ulster will then be in contention for one of the best runners-up spots, but their fate would be out of their hands.
If Toulouse and Harlequins win on Friday night, and the Cardiff Blues and Edinburgh win on Sunday, Ulster would have to settle for a place in the quarter-finals of the Amlin Challenge Cup.
ULSTER (v Clermont Auvergne) – Backs (14): Paul Marshall, Ruan Pienaar, Ian Porter, Ian Humphreys, Paddy Jackson, Paddy Wallace, Ian Whitten, Nevin Spence, Stefan Terblanche, Craig Gilroy, Simon Danielli, Conor Gaston, Andrew Trimble, Adam D’Arcy.
Forwards (20): Callum Black, Tom Court, Adam Macklin, John Afoa, Jerry Cronin, Paddy McAllister, Andi Kyriacou, Nigel Brady, Rory Best, Lewis Stevenson, Johann Muller (capt), Dan Tuohy, Tim Barker, Neil McComb, Stephen Ferris, Pedrie Wannenburg, Willie Faloon, Mike McComish, Chris Henry, Robbie Diack.