Magners League: Ulster eye play-off boost
Ulster can move into the Magners League play-off places on Friday night with a victory over the Dragons at Ravenhill.
The match was originally scheduled for the start of December but fell victim to the cold snap and will go ahead this weekend after the Dragons lost in the LV Cup semi-finals to Gloucester.
Brian McLaughlin’s men are currently fifth in the Magners League table, two points behind Cardiff and a further four adrift of Leinster in third place.
The Dragons have lost their last three games in the Magners League and caretaker coach Darren Edwards has urged his team to bounce back from the poor performance at Kingsholm.
“Ulster is a difficult place to go and they are another team that plays a tough brand of rugby,” said Edwards.
“It will be tough to pick the players up after Gloucester, but we'll soon see what we're all about.
“It is really tough, mentally tough, to go from a Sunday game to a Friday game, but being exposed to a semi-final will benefit the future development of the players.”
Ulster will be without their Irish internationals as they look to continue their impressive home record this season which has seen just two defeats at Ravenhill.
Out half Ian Humphreys is a major doubt with the hamstring injury that forced him out of the home win against Aironi a fortnight ago.
Ireland and British Lions flanker Stephen Ferris and South African prop BJ Botha are long term absentees, but hopes are high that they will be fit for the Heineken Cup quarter final against Northampton.
The Dragons are without captain and former All Black hooker Tom Willis with a thumb injury.
Welsh international second row duo Robert Sidoli and Scott Morgan have both suffered elbow injuries. Centre Andy Smith has a shoulder complaint while flanker Dan Lydiate is on international duty against France.