Ulster have made three personnel and one positional change to the starting XV for Friday’s RaboDirect PRO12 game against Dragons at Rodney Parade (kick off 7.05pm).
Jared Payne picked up a dead leg in the loss to Ospreys on Sunday so Adam D’Arcy is promoted from the bench to fill the vacant fullback role. Ian Humphreys (shoulder) and Darren Cave (hamstring) have not recovered from their injuries on time and will play no part in the fixture.
After starting all of Ulster’s games so far, Andi Kyriacou will begin among the replacements, with Nigel Brady taking over at hooker. Willie Faloon has been named at openside flanker, so Chris Henry moves round to number 8 and Robbie Diack drops to the bench.
Academy prop Kyle McCall (19) is in line for his senior debut after being named on the bench*. Ian Porter has returned to the bench following a rib injury, and is joined by Conor Gaston who will provide cover for the back three.
Ulster’s 100% winning start to the season came to an end with the 32-14 defeat at the Ospreys. The squad will be looking for a greatly reduced penalty count during their second trip to Wales in a week. This would go a long way to get the campaign back on track.
Dragons have had a less impressive opening to the season, winning just one game in four – a 23-14 success at home to Aironi in Round 3. The Dragons’ only reversal at Rodney Parade in their last five matches in this tournament was 13-20 to Ulster back in May.
Ulster (15-9): A D’Arcy; C Gilroy, N Spence, L Marshall, I Whitten; P Jackson, P Marshall;
(1-8): D Fitzpatrick, N Brady, J Cronin, L Stevenson, D Tuohy, P Wannenburg, W Faloon, C Henry (c);
Replacements (16-23): A Kyriacou, K McCall, A Macklin, T Barker, R Diack, I Porter, J McKinney, C Gaston
Unavailable due to injury: Callum Black (neck), Ian Humphreys (shoulder), Jared Payne (dead leg), Darren Cave (hamstring)
* Kyle McCall
Date of Birth: 02/01/92
Club: Ballynahinch RFC