Ulster to slay Dragons
Published 18/03/2011 | 05:00
ULSTER can gain some ground on their play-off-chasing rivals this evening if their young guns can see off a Dragons team who have no fears about visiting Ravenhill.
Brian McLaughlin's resources are depleted by international call-ups, but the Academy up north is brimming with talent; McLaughlin will look to the likes of Chris Henry, Ruan Pienaar, and Johann Muller to guide less experienced players.
Much of the promise comes behind the scrum, where Ireland U-20 out-half Paddy Jackson, Luke Marshall, Craig Gilroy and in-form Conor Gaston all get opportunities.
Currently fifth in a tight race for fourth, Ulster know a win tonight will be essential for any hopes they have of building on their European form in the Magners League.
Standing in their way are one of the teams least affected by international call-ups. The Welsh region were knocked out of the Anglo-Welsh Cup last weekend, thus making this game possible.
Despite their inexperienced line-up, Ulster should have enough to take the points.
Ulster -- A D'Arcy; C Gaston, N Spence, L Marshall, C Gilroy; P Jackson, R Pienaar; P McAllister, A Kyriacou, D Fitzpatrick; J Muller (capt), T Barker; C Henry, W Faloon, R Diack. Reps: N Brady, B Young, J Cronin, D Tuohy, P Wannenburg, P Marshall, D Cave, T Seymour.
Dragons -- M Thomas; W Harries, A Hughes, P Leach, A Brew; J Tovey, W Evans; P Price, L Burns, D Way; L Charteris, A Jones; A Coombs, L Evans, J Bearman. Reps: S Jones, P Palmer, H Gustadson, A Brown, T Faletau, T Riley, J Leadbeater, M Jones.
REF -- J Jones (WRU).
Ulster v Dragons,
Live, BBC2 Northern Ireland, 7.05