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Ulster Name Strong Side For Dragons Game

Ulster Name Strong Side For Dragons Game

Ulster have been boosted by the return of a number of high profile players for Friday’s GUINNESS PRO12 clash with the Newport Gwent Dragons at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 7.35pm).

Paddy Jackson, Robbie Diack, Ruan Pienaar and Nick Williams have all been included in the matchday squad by director of rugby Les Kiss.

There are four changes to the team that beat Benetton Treviso last Saturday afternoon, as Diack, Pienaar, Jacob Stockdale and Peter Browne are selected in Kiss’ side. Jackson and Williams will start the match from the bench.

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Stockdale, who made his debut in the bonus point win in Italy, will make his first senior start for the province after being named on the left wing. Louis Ludik, fresh from penning a contract extension, is retained at full-back, with Craig Gilroy continuing on the other wing.

With limited training time this week due to a slight thigh injury, Rory Scholes is on the bench and will provide cover for the back-three.

Stuart Olding made a try-scoring return from injury last weekend and he will again line out alongside fellow Ireland international Darren Cave in midfield. Pienaar, who has missed the last two games with an illness, will be joined at half back by Ian Humphreys, who enjoyed a 100% kicking record from the tee at Stadio di Monigo last weekend.

The front row is unchanged, with captain Rob Herring to be joined by props Callum Black and Ricky Lutton. Browne will partner Alan O’Connor in the second row as Franco van der Merwe, who has started 16 of Ulster’s 18 games this season, is given a well-earned rest. Diack, Sean Reidy and Roger Wilson will form a combative back row.

Jackson, Scholes and Paul Marshall are the back-line replacements, front row cover will be provided by John Andrew, Kyle McCall and Bronson Ross, while Clive Ross and Williams complete the panel of 23.

Ulster will go top of the GUINNESS PRO12 table if they win on Friday night. Tickets for the match are still available via www.ulsterrugby.com/buytickets.

ULSTER (v Newport Gwent Dragons): Louis Ludik; Craig Gilroy, Darren Cave, Stuart Olding, Jacob Stockdale; Ian Humphreys, Ruan Pienaar; Callum Black, Rob Herring (capt), Ricky Lutton, Alan O’Connor, Peter Browne, Robbie Diack, Sean Reidy, Roger Wilson.

Replacements: John Andrew, Kyle McCall, Bronson Ross, Clive Ross, Nick Williams, Paul Marshall, Paddy Jackson, Rory Scholes.