Ulster have named a 28 man provisional squad ahead of the visit of the Dragons to Ravenhill on Friday night (kick off 7.05pm).
Brian McLaughlin’s side return to action in the RaboDirect PRO12 after a five week break. They will be without South African loose forward Pedrie Wannenburg who has been ruled out with a foot injury, while Darren Cave and Declan Fitzpatrick remain sidelined.
Paddy Wallace, Chris Henry, Dan Tuohy have been retained in the Ireland 6 Nations squad along with Rory Best, Andrew Trimble, Tom Court and Stephen Ferris who all featured in the loss to Wales on Sunday. Winger Simon Danielli continues his involvement with the Scotland squad.
Academy players Michael Allen, Chris Cochrane, Ali Birch and Conor Gaston are all named in the extended squad and will compete for the place in the match day 23.
Ulster have won three of their last four matches in the RaboDirect PRO12, whilst their only defeat at Ravenhill in their last 16 was 12-23 to Treviso in October. The Ulstermen have not lost at home to a Welsh region since Dragons themselves were the visitors in April 2010.
Dragons are in the midst of their worst ever away run in the competition, with ten straight losses on the road. The Men from Gwent won 22-9 when the two sides met at Rodney Parade in round five but have not achieved a season’s double over the Ulstermen since 2008/09. The Dragons’ only win in Ireland since 2004 was 16-14 over Ulster at Ravenhill on 19 September 2008.
Provisional Ulster Squad to play Dragons, Friday 10th February, Ravenhill (kick off 7.05pm):
Callum Black, Adam Macklin, John Afoa, Jerry Cronin, Paddy McAllister, Andi Kyriacou, Nigel Brady, Lewis Stevenson, Johann Muller (captain), Tim Barker, Neil McComb, Willie Faloon, Ali Birch, Mike McComish, Robbie Diack
Paul Marshall, Ruan Pienaar, Ian Porter, Ian Humphreys, Luke Marshall, Ian Whitten, Nevin Spence, Michael Allen, Stefan Terblanche, Craig Gilroy, Conor Gaston, Chris Cochrane, Adam D’Arcy
Unavailable due to injury:
Declan Fitzpatrick, Jared Payne, Pedrie Wannenburg, Darren Cave
Unavailable due to International duty:
Dan Tuohy, Stephen Ferris, Tom Court, Paddy Wallace, Rory Best, Chris Henry, Andrew Trimble, Simon Danielli