Director of rugby Les Kiss has named the Ulster team that will line out against the Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade in round 18 of the GUINNESS PRO12 on Friday (kick-off 7.35pm).
Les Kiss’ side will be hoping to continue the run of five successive wins that has seen the province climb to fourth place in the PRO12 standings, and in doing so, put together back-to-back wins in Newport for the first time since 2005-2006.
Luke Marshall is set to win his 100th Ulster cap, a little over six years since he made his provincial debut against Munster. Marshall will form an experienced centre partnership with Darren Cave, with the pair racking up 291 Ulster caps between them.
Ireland duo Iain Henderson and Jared Payne return to the starting XV at blindside flanker and full-back respectively, while Paddy Jackson is included among the replacements.
Charles Piutau and Craig Gilroy will occupy the wing berths, forming an exciting back-three with Payne for the second game in succession. The half-back partnership of Ruan Pienaar and Stuart Olding, which functioned so well in the record breaking 10-try win over Zebre last time out, is also retained.
Up front, Rob Herring will captain the side from hooker and he will be joined in the front row by Andrew Warwick and Wiehahn Herbst. Kieran Treadwell and Alan O’Connor are paired together once again in the engine room, while Sean Reidy comes in to join Chris Henry and Henderson in the back row.
John Andrew, Callum Black and Rodney Ah You provide the front row cover from the bench along with fellow forwards Robbie Diack and Clive Ross. Paul Marshall and Jacob Stockdale are named alongside Jackson as back-line replacements.
ULSTER (v Newport Gwent Dragons): Jared Payne; Craig Gilroy, Luke Marshall, Darren Cave, Charles Piutau; Stuart Olding, Ruan Pienaar; Andrew Warwick, Rob Herring (capt), Wiehahn Herbst, Kieran Treadwell, Alan O’Connor, Iain Henderson, Chris Henry, Sean Reidy;
Replacements: John Andrew, Callum Black, Rodney Ah You, Robbie Diack, Clive Ross, Paul Marshall, Paddy Jackson, Jacob Stockdale.