Planet Rugby

Preview: Ulster v Dragons

27th February 2014 10:27

Share:

SKY_MOBILE Tommy Bowe Ulster

On the wing: Tommy Bowe

Tommy Bowe starts for Ulster against the Dragons at Ravenhill on Friday having recovered from the leg injury that has kept him out since November.

The British and Irish Lions winger starts on the right wing and is joined in the back three by Jared Payne, who is selected at full-back and by Ireland Under 20's winger Rory Scholes, who makes his first senior start for the Province.

Luke Marshall and Darren Cave maintain their partnership in midfield. Paddy Jackson has been released by Ireland and starts at fly-half, with Ruan Pienaar moving back to his more familiar position at scrum-half.

Up front Callum Black starts at loosehead, with Tom Court named on the bench. Rob Herring continues at hooker with Ricky Lutton keeping his place at tighthead.

Johann Muller captains Ulster from the second row where he is joined by Iain Henderson, who has also been released from international duty.

Robbie Diack, Sean Doyle and Roger Wilson all start in an unchanged back row.

21-year-old centre, Stuart McCloskey, who is a member of the Ulster Academy, is named as a replacement and will make his first senior appearance if called upon.

Meanwhile, Bruce Douglas will make his first start for the Dragons this weekend.

The 34-year-old is on loan from Bristol RFC and will make his first start of the season since joining the squad at the beginning of the month.

There have been a total of four changes to the winning team that took on Glasgow Warriors as Welsh Sevens star Rhys Jones gets his third start of the season for the men of Gwent at full-back. He is joined in the back three by wingers Matthew Pewtner and Ross Wardle.

The centre pairing of Pat Leach and Ashley Smith makes another appearance with Smith also taking on the role of captain, in Andrew Coombs' absence. At number 10 Steffan Jones takes on kicking duties as fly-half Jason Tovey is moved to the bench and scrum-half Richie Rees retains his place from last weekend.

The front-row has one change to it as Douglas comes into the starting XV alongside Owen Evans and T. Rhys Thomas. The second-row has taken on a younger form as Matthew Screech steps up in Coombs; absence and Cory Hill retains his shirt. The back-row then remains unchanged with Jevon Groves, Nic Cudd and Lewis Evans all retaining their places.

There have been six changes made to the bench as Ieuan Jones and Wayne Evans are joined on the bench by Nathan Williams, Hugh Gustafson, Duncan Bell, Rob Sidoli, Tovey and Jack Dixon who has returned from injury.

Form: Ulster's only defeat in any competition since early November was 6-19 to Leinster at the RDS in the PRO12 on 28th December. The Ulstermen have not managed to tally a try bonus point in the competition since round 8, whilst their only defeat at Ravenhill in the last twelve months was to Glasgow on 13th September. Newport Gwent Dragons last five fixtures in the PRO12 have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst the Welshmen's solo victory on the road in the competition since round 16 last season came at Glasgow in November. The Men of Gwent have lost their last five contests with Irish provinces and have won just once away from home against an Irish team since October 2004: 16-14 against Ulster at Ravenhill in September 2008. The Dragons were victorious 15-8 at Rodney Parade when the two teams met in round 1 but have not achieved a season's double over the Ulstermen since 2008/09.

The teams:

Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Rory Scholes, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Roger Wilson, 7 Sean Doyle, 6 Robbie Diack, 5 Iain Henderson, 4 Johann Muller (capt), 3 Ricky Lutton, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Callum Black.
Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Tom Court, 18 Adam Macklin, 19 Lewis Stevenson, 20 Mike McComish, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Stuart McCloskey, 23 David McIlwaine.

Dragons: 15 Rhys Jones, 14 Matthew Pewtner, 13 Pat Leach, 12 Ashley Smith (c), 11 Ross Wardle, 10 Steffan Jones, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Lewis Evans, 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Jevon Groves, 5 Cory Hill, 4 Matthew Screech, 3 Bruce Douglas, 2 T. Rhys Thomas, 1 Owen Evans.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Williams, 17 Hugh Gustafson, 18 Duncan Bell, 19 Rob Sidoli, 20 Ieuan Jones, 21 Wayne Evans, 22 Jason Tovey, 23 Jack Dixon.

Date: Friday, February 28
Kick-off: 19:05 GMT
Venue: Ravenhill
Referee: Lloyd Linton (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Nigel Correll (Ireland), Johan Carvill (Ireland)
Television match official: Peter Ferguson (Ireland)
Assessor: Jack Young (Ireland)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs Toulon13:00
Scarlets vs Leicester19:45
Bath vs Toulouse15:15
Montpellier vs Glasgow17:15
Northampton vs Ospreys17:15
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale15:15
Castres vs Leinster14:00
Wasps vs Harlequins17:15
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 9217:15
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles19:45
Friday , October 24
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Grenoble vs London Irish18:30
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Newcastle19:30
Brive vs Zebre19:30
Edinburgh vs LOU Rugby19:45
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade FrancaisTBC
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs Connacht15:00
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Zebre 24 - 33 Oyonnax
Cardiff Blues 37 - 14 Grenoble
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Lions 50 - 20 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Western Province 31 - 23 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 49 - 30 AucklandTaranaki vs Auckland Report
Manawatu 23 - 18 Southland
Tasman 26 - 6 CanterburyTasman vs Canterbury Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 17
Harlequins 25 - 9 CastresHarlequins vs Castres Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Bordeaux-Begles 13 - 15 EdinburghBordeaux-Begles vs Edinburgh Report
Newcastle 43 - 19 Bucuresti
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615