New signing Charles Piutau in frame for European player prize
Ulster's new signing Charles Piutau has been shortlisted for this season's EPCR European Player of the Year. The All Black back three player, who moves to Kingspan Stadium this summer, has been in sensational form for Wasps and leads the Champions Cup in metres made, defenders beaten and clean breaks.
One of 15 players up for the award, Piutau would be the first southern hemisphere player to pick up the gong.
Six of England's RBS 6 Nations and Grand Slam-winning squad are among the nominations for 2016 European player of the year.
Saracens quartet Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje, George Kruis and Billy Vunipola are joined by Harlequins back-row forward Jack Clifford and Wasps centre Elliot Daly on a 15-strong list.
The winner's identity will be revealed during next month's European finals weekend in Lyon.
Meanwhile, Ulster Rugby have confirmed their pre-season schedule for this summer.
Les Kiss's men will travel to Exeter's Sandy Park on August 20 before hosting Northampton Saints at Kingspan Stadium six days later.
On the same day that Jim Mallinder's side visit, Ulster A will take on Canada A as part of a double-header.
Leinster's Fergus McFadden has been handed a three week ban for a dangerous tackle against Edinburgh last week. Taking into account non-playing weeks, the Irish international utility back will be absent until May 22, including the visit to Ulster next week for the crucial Guinness Pro12 clash.