Injured Ferris to miss clash with Leinster
Ireland and British Lions flanker Stephen Ferris is set to miss Monday's big Magners League derby with Leinster at Ravenhill due to a leg injury.
Ferris was man of the match in Ulster’s Heineken Cup victory over Bath at Ravenhill but had to sit out last Saturday's return at The Rec when Ulster completed a double over the English Premiership side to put themselves in a great position to make the knock out stages.
Ferris picked up the injury in training last week but it is worst than first expected and he looks likely to lose his fitness battle for the Leinster battle.
Both sides must put the euphoria of important European wins behind them as they look to close the gap on Munster at the top of the League.
Ulster are fifth, eight points behind the Thomond Park side but have a game in hand while Leinster are a further two points behind in sixth.
The Christmas inter-provincial clashes are always a chance to impress the Irish national management with the start of the Six Nations in six weeks time and there will be a number of key battles around the park.
One of the most mouth watering will be between props Tom Court and Mike Ross.
Both are looking to nail down the Irish tight head shirt as it is still proving a problem position for Declan Kidney.
Ulster's Court featured in all four autumn internationals including starts against Samoa and New Zealand but having to play at loose head for his province to accommodate BJ Botha is being seen as harming his case for securing a regular starting place for Ireland.
Ross is hailed as a technically sound scrummager having played in the English Premiership with Harlequins but his Leinster move hasn't yielded the international recognition it was supposed to.
Ross has only won two caps for his country, coming on last year's end of season tour to Canada and the United States but has featured in many Ireland squads though is constantly overlooked.
However his performances in Leinster's back-to-back games with Clermont when he tamed Thomas Domingo at the set piece could open the door to the Irish side for Ross.