Jackson leads Ulster as Pienaar calls for patience
Paddy Jackson will once again captain Ulster when they take on Cardiff at the Arms Park tomorrow.
The 24-year-old had his first taste of skippering the side in last weekend's home reverse to Scarlets and, with Rory Best and Rob Herring two of the 14 players unavailable through injury or Irish commitments, the out-half will lead out the side for a second time in the Welsh capital.
While he again would have hoped to be in Twickenham today, Jackson has Ruan Pienaar alongside him against the Blues while there is also a return to action for No 8 Nick Williams against the team he will join this summer.
Fresh from training with Ireland this week, Craig Gilroy and Luke Marshall keep their places at wing and centre respectively where the latter will be partnered by the departing Sammy Arnold for a first time. Pienaar is hoping to draw a line under a disappointing week after losing at home to Scarlets by a point last weekend. He knows that Ulster must be a vastly improved during the season's final months.
"There's a lot of tough games but I think we'll take this game on Sunday and get a good performance and build momentum," Pienaar said. "The last month has been frustrating, creating chances and not finishing them.
"We need to show a lot more patience, keep the ball, and make better decisions.
"If there's one thing I'd highlight it's that we're creating chances just not finishing them. It's obviously disappointing, especially to lose at home. It's always a place where we pride ourselves. To be honest we haven't done as well there this season as we would like to. That's the beauty of rugby though, seven days is a long time."
Ulster - L Ludik; C Gilroy, D Cave, S Olding, J Stockdale; I Humphreys, R Pienaar; C Black, R Herring (c), R Lutton; A O'Connor, P Browne; R Diack, S Reidy, R Wilson. Reps: J Andrew, K McCall, B Ross, C Ross, N Williams, P Marshall, P Jackson, R Scholes.
Dragons - C Meyer; A Hewitt, A Hughes, A Warren, H Amos; A O'Brien, C Davies; P Price, E Dee, B Harris; M Screech, R Landman (c); B White, N Cudd, E Jackson. Reps: R Buckley, B Stankovich, S Knight, C Hill, J Benjamin, S Pretorius, R Jones, N Scott
Ulster v Dragons, Live, BBC NI, tomorrow, 2.30