Director of Rugby Les Kiss has named the Ulster team that will travel to Newport Gwent Dragons in Round 18 of the Guinness PRO12 on Friday evening (Rodney Parade, 7.35pm).
Kiss’ side will be hoping to continue the run of five successive wins that has seen the team climb to fourth in the PRO12 standings, and in doing so, put together back-to-back wins at Rodney Parade for the first time since 2005-2006.
Luke Marshall is set to win his 100th Ulster cap, a little over six years since he made his club debut against Munster. Marshall will form an experienced midfield partnership alongside Darren Cave, with the pair racking up 291 caps for the province between them.
Ireland duo Iain Henderson and Jared Payne return to the starting XV at blind-side flanker and full-back respectively, while Paddy Jackson is included among the replacements.
Charles Piutau and Craig Gilroy will occupy the wing berths, forming an exciting back three with Payne for the second game in succession.
The half-back partnership of Ruan Pienaar and Stuart Olding, which functioned so well in the record breaking ten-try win over Zebre last time out, is also retained.
Up front Rob Herring will captain the side from hooker and he will be joined in the front row by Andy Warwick and Wiehahn Herbst.
Kieran Treadwell and Alan O’Connor are paired once again in the engine room, while Sean Reidy comes in to join Chris Henry and Henderson in the back row.
John Andrew, Callum Black and Rodney Ah You provide the front row cover from the bench along with fellow forwards Robbie Diack and Clive Ross. Paul Marshall and Jacob Stockdale are named alongside Jackson as backline replacements.
Ulster team & replacements to play Newport Gwent Dragons, Guinness PRO12, Friday 24th March, Rodney Parade (7.35pm kick-off, live on BBC2 NI):
(15-9): J Payne, C Gilroy, L Marshall, D Cave, C Piutau, S Olding, R Pienaar;
(1-8): A Warwick, R Herring (C), W Herbst, K Treadwell, A O’Connor, I Henderson, C Henry, S Reidy;
Replacements (16-23): J Andrew, C Black, R Ah You, R Diack, C Ross, P Marshall, P Jackson, J Stockdale.
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