Ulster head coach Mark Anscombe has named an extended panel of 26 players for the province’s final Heineken Cup pool match against Castres Olympique on Saturday afternoon.
Ulster have already secured a spot in the quarter-finals of the competition, but next Saturday’s game in France, combined with results in other pools, will determine if they will have a home or away match in the last-eight.
It was confirmed yesterday that number 8 Nick Williams sustained a knee injury in the win over Glasgow last Friday night and will be on the sidelines for up to eight weeks.
Full-back Jared Payne has an ongoing groin complaint and his fitness will be monitored throughout the week.
The province has never won a Heineken Cup game in France, but did record a victory on French soil in a pre-season friendly in August with a 20-15 defeat of Bayonne.
Mark Anscombe’s team will face a formidable challenge in Castres Olympique who have won three of their last four home matches in the competition.
The Ulstermen beat Castres 41-17 in their opening Heineken Cup Pool 4 game at Ravenhill in October.
ULSTER Squad (v Castres Olympique) – Backs (12): Paddy Wallace, Niall O’Connor, Ruan Pienaar, Craig Gilroy, Paddy Jackson, Chris Cochrane, Paul Marshall, Andrew Trimble, Michael Heaney, Jared Payne, Darren Cave, Michael Allen.
Forwards (14): Rory Best, Callum Black, John Afoa, Nigel Brady, Mike McComish, Lewis Stevenson, Declan Fitzpatrick, Roger Wilson, Neil McComb, Iain Henderson, Tom Court, Chris Henry, Robbie Diack, Rob Herring.