Ulster have been boosted ahead of next week's vital Magners League clash with the news that former Irish international flanker Kieron Dawson has pledged his future to the province.
The flanker arrived at Ravenhill at the start of the 2006/07 season from English Premiership club London Irish having played nearly 200 matches for the exiles.
Dawson has signed a one year extension to his current deal and we'll stay at Ravenhill until the end of 2009 season.
With Neil McMillan, Roger Wilson and Neil Best all departing in the summer Dawson's decision to stay has been welcomed by coach Matt Williams.
"Kieron is a great pro with a career full of experience and good leadership skills, he brings a lot to the team especially the younger players like David Pollock. Kieron has been in great form over the last few games and I am just delighted that he has committed to Ulster," said the Australian.
Dawson is delighted to stay at Ravenhill and believes the side can become stronger next season.
"I am very pleased and honoured to be offered the opportunity to continue playing with the Ulster squad for another season. I have thoroughly enjoyed the last few months under Matt and Steve Williams and believe that as a squad we have turned a corner and will have a highly successful end of season run," stated Dawson.
Capped 21 times by Ireland including being part of the 1999 World Cup squad Dawson knows he'll have a fight on his hands to keep his place in the team.
"I am looking forward to next season with renewed optimism and feel that I can still contribute a great deal to Ulster Rugby. Competition for places will be very tough with some hugely talented back-row forwards like David Pollock, Chris Henry and Thomas Anderson coming through, but I feel that my experience can be of value to a young squad. I still get a real buzz when I pull on the white jersey and love to play at Ravenhill, so I am very proud to continue my career at Ulster," he concluded.