The provisional Ulster squad was today announced for Sunday’s re-arranged RaboDirect PRO12 game against Zebre (Stadio XXV Aprile, kick off 2pm GMT).
With four contracted second rows unavailable, Academy player James Simpson has been drafted in and could win his second cap for the Province. The 22 year old made his senior debut 11 months ago in the Boxing Day defeat to Leinster at the RDS. Back row player Robbie Diack will also be considered as an option at lock.
In the backs, Ricky Andrew, who made his debut in the win over Edinburgh at the start of the month, will also be hoping to add a second cap to his name. Scrumhalf Blane McIlroy has been added to the panel with Ruan Pienaar on Springboks duty and Paul Marshall with the Ireland squad. Back three player Adam D’Arcy could make his first appearance of the season for Ulster if he is selected in Sunday’s match day squad.
Ulster will have designs on continuing their unbeaten start to the season but will face the difficult task of playing Zebre and Treviso away on consecutive weekends. While Zebre are still searching for their first ever competitive victory, they have looked strong at home and have caused problems for numerous teams.
PROVISIONAL ULSTER SQUAD TO FACE ZEBRE, RABODIRECT PRO12, SUN 18th NOVEMBER, STADIO XXV APRILE (KO 2PM GMT):
Rob Herring, Niall Annett, Nigel Brady, Callum Black, Ricky Lutton, Adam Macklin, John Afoa, Neil McComb, James Simpson, Robbie Diack, Mike McComish, Ali Birch, Roger Wilson, Nick Williams.
Michael Heaney, Blane McIlroy, Niall O’Connor, Stuart Olding, Paddy Wallace, Jared Payne, Michael Allen, Chris Cochrane, Ricky Andrew, Peter Nelson, Adam D’Arcy.