Brian McLaughlin has named a youthful side to take on the Dragons in the Magners League match at Ravenhill on Friday evening.
Winger Conor Gaston is the latest Phoenix Ulster Rugby Academy player to be given his chance, starting in on the right wing in place of Andrew Trimble who is on Ireland duty. Gaston has been in scintillating form for Dungannon in the All-Ireland League and has also impressed for the Ulster Ravens in recent months. The 20 year old is included in a starting XV also includes talented young backs Patrick Jackson, Craig Gilroy, Luke Marshall and Nevin Spence.
Luke Marshall returns to inside centre as Paddy Wallace is also with Ireland, while Jackson’s inclusion at outhalf sees Ruan Pienaar move back to his more familiar scrum half position with Paul Marshall dropping to the bench.
In the front row, Andi Kyriacou and Declan Fitzpatrick come in for Nigel Brady and Tom Court. The other change in the pack sees Robbie Diack pack down at Number 8 in place of Pedrie Wannenburg. Captain Johann Muller continues his second row partnership with Tim Barker.
The squad is boosted with long term injury absentees Dan Tuohy and Darren Cave named among the replacements.
Ulster Team v Dragons (Magners League, Friday 18th March, kick-off 7.05pm)
(15-9): A D’Arcy; C Gaston, N Spence, L Marshall, C Gilroy; P Jackson, R Pienaar;
(1-8): P McAllister, A Kyriacou, D Fitzpatrick, J Muller (capt), T Barker, C Henry, W Faloon, R Diack
Replacements (16-23): N Brady, B Young, J Cronin, D Tuohy, P Wannenburg, P Marshall, D Cave, T Seymour
Ulster Rugby would advise supporters coming to the game (gates open 5.30pm) to avoid parking in the immediate vicinity of the Ravenhill Grounds and that the following roads are only accessible for residents and closed to everyone else: Onslow Parade, Ravenhill Park and Ravenhill Park Gardens. There will also be parking restrictions in place in the Castlereagh area (Mount Merrion Avenue).
Supporters are encouraged to make use of the Park 'n' Ride facilities at Pirrie Park and along Montgomery Road and your co-operation is gratefully appreciated