2016-17 PRO14

Teams up for Dragons v Ulster

Teams are up for Ulster Rugby’s PRO12 match against Neath Gwent Dragons which takes place this evening, Friday 24th March, at Rodney Parade. Kick off at 7.35pm, live on BBC2 NI.

There are four changes to the starting line up that featured against Zebre. Sean Reidy returns to the back row to replace the injured Marcell Coetzee and he is joined by Iain Henderson, who returns from International duty.

Darren Cave comes in at inside centre, with Jacob Stockdale making way, and Andrew Warwick swaps with Callum Black at loosehead.

Paddy Jackson also returns from International duty but will start from the bench with Stuart Olding given another run out at out half.

From the Ulster perspective the big question is how the pack will react to the absence of Coetzee. They have been playing in fits and starts without him but they will need to produce an 80 minute performance if they are to pick up the required win bonus. I guess it will all depend on how fired up Henderson is for this one.

The Dragons announced earlier this week that they are to be taken over by the Welsh Rugby Union at the end of the season, which should bring more stability in the long term but a touch of uncertainty for the current players. How they will react is anyone’s guess. However the chance to impress the new regime may raise a few individual games and with Ulster atrociously erratic this season that extra resistance may be enough to put them off their game.

The overall record between the teams in the PRO12 is 16 wins for Ulster against 10 wins for the Dragons and one draw and the Welsh side have the annoying habit of getting under Ulster’s skin, with many of the matches pretty turgid affairs.

The FRU Predicts: We’ll get a good indication of how likely Ulster are to finish in the top four from this game. A big win is needed to keep their late run on track. They should get it, but it won’t be pretty! #suftum

Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland). Weather: Dry, light wind.

Carl Meyer 15 Jared Payne
Adam Hughes 14 Craig Gilroy
Tyler Morgan 13 Luke Marshall
Sam Beard 12 Darren Cave
Tom Prydie 11 Charles Piutau
Angus O’Brien 10 Stuart Olding
Charlie Davies 9 Ruan Pienaar
Sam Hobbs 1 Andrew Warwick
Rhys Buckley 2 Rob Herring
Brok Harris 3 Wiehahn Herbst
Nick Crosswell 4 Kieran Treadwell
Rynard Landman 5 Alan O’Connor
Ollie Griffiths 6 Iain Henderson
Nic Cudd 7 Chris Henry
Lewis Evans 8 Sean Reidy
Darran Harris 16 John Andrew
Phil Price 17 Callum Black
LLoyd Fairbrother 18 Rodney Ah You
Matthew Screech 19 Robbie Diack
Harrison Keddie 20 Clive Ross
Sarel Pretorious 21 Paul Marshall
Dorian Jones 22 Paddy Jackson
Adam Warren 23 Jacob Stockdale

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