Brian McLaughlin has named a 32 man squad as Ulster return to action on Saturday against Treviso in the RaboDirect PRO12 (Stadio Monigo, kick off 3.15pm GMT).
After a two week break, McLaughlin is able to recall Darren Cave and captain Johann Muller to the squad after theymissed a series of games through injury. Cave (foot) last featured over two months ago in the Heineken Cup win over Leicester and he will be a welcome addition to the midfield. Muller’s previous game was the following week against Clermont Auvergne, before he suffered a calf injury in training.
Ulster will be without rested internationals Rory Best, Andrew Trimble and Stephen Ferris after the trio featured heavily for Ireland in the 6 Nations. Simon Danielli is still struggling with injury and is not fit enough to be named, while Mike McComish is unavailable after suffering concussion during the Edinburgh match earlier this month. Jared Payne and Declan Fitzpatrick also remain sidelined.
There is also a place in the extended squad for Phoenix Academy second row Iain Henderson, who was a key player in the Ireland U20s squad which won four from five in their 6 Nations campaign.
Treviso are without a win in 2012, slipping to seven straight defeats in all competitions since the turn of the New Year. But Ulster will be wary of the threat posed by the Italians, after losing 23-12 to them at home earlier in the season.
Ulster’s only defeat in their last six PRO12 encounters was 14-21 against Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park on 17th February. Ulster have scored 40 tries in this season’s completion, a greater total than any other team in the league, and they will be looking to add to that tally on Saturday.
Provisional Ulster Squad to play Treviso, Saturday 24th March, Stadio Monigo (kick off 3.15pm GMT):
Callum Black, Tom Court, Adam Macklin, John Afoa, Jerry Cronin, Paddy McAllister, Andi Kyriacou, Nigel Brady, Lewis Stevenson, Dan Tuohy, Johann Muller (captain), Iain Henderson, Tim Barker, Neil McComb, Willie Faloon, Pedrie Wannenburg, Ali Birch, Chris Henry, Robbie Diack
Paul Marshall, Ruan Pienaar, Ian Porter, Ian Humphreys, Luke Marshall, Ian Whitten, Nevin Spence, Darren Cave, Stefan Terblanche, Craig Gilroy, Conor Gaston, Chris Cochrane, Adam D’Arcy
Unavailable due to injury:
Declan Fitzpatrick, Jared Payne, Simon Danielli, Mike McComish