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RaboDirect PRO12 match preview: Ulster v Dragons
Second-placed Ulster have named Tommy Bowe on the right wing for their RaboDirect PRO12 meeting with the Dragons at Ravenhill on Friday.
Head coach Mark Anscombe has made seven personnel and two positional changes to the team which lost 27-16 last time to Saracens in the Heineken Cup.
Irish international Bowe, who won his 100th cap for Ulster when he came off the bench in the defeat, starts his first game for the province since he injured knee ligaments against Northampton in December.
Peter Nelson is named at full-back instead of Jared Payne, who picked up a slight ankle knock at Twickenham, while Stuart Olding replaces Luke Marshall who suffered concussion in the game.
Paddy Jackson is rested for the game, so Ruan Pienaar switches to fly-half, with Paul Marshall coming in at nine.
Tom Court remains at loosehead alongside Rory Best, who will captain the side. Ricky Lutton starts at tighthead.
With Johann Muller out for three weeks with a bicep injury, Iain Henderson is selected in the second-row alongside Dan Tuohy. Robbie Diack therefore comes in at blindside flanker.
Chris Henry is rested for the match, so Mike McComish is selected at openside with Nick Williams named at number eight.
Meanwhile, Dragons coach Darren Edwards has made the changes in the forward pack by including Sam Parry, who steps up from the bench against the Scarlets, Nathan Buck and open side flanker Darren Waters.
The men of Gwent will keep the faith in their young centre pairing of Pat Leach and Jack Dixon; they stand alongside Dan Evans who impressed with a man of the match performance, at number ten in the Dragons last match against the Scarlets. Welsh international Andrew Coombs also retains his place as captain of the regional side.
On the bench, Andy Tuilagi returns from a hamstring injury. He sits alongside Hugh Gustafson, Nathan Williams and Adam Jones who have all been changed from the previous line up.
Ulster: 15 Peter Nelson, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Stuart Olding, 11 Craig Gilroy, 10 Ruan Pienaar, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Mike McComish, 6 Robbie Diack, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Ricky Lutton, 2 Rory Best (c), 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Callum Black, 18 Declan Fitzpatrick, 19 Lewis Stevenson, 20 Ali Birch, 21 Niall O'Connor, 22 Mike Allen, 23 Adam D'Arcy.
Dragons: 15 Tom Prydie, 14 Will Harries, 13 Pat Leach, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Ross Wardle, 10 Dan Evans, 9 Jonathan Evans, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Darren Waters, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Rob Sidoli, 4 Andrew Coombs (c), 3 Nathan Buck, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Aaron Coundley.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Gustafson, 17 Nathan Williams, 18 Dan Way, 19 Adam Jones, 20 Jevon Groves, 21 Wayne Evans, 22 Steffan Jones, 23 Andy Tuilagi.
What they said...
Ulster's Johann Muller
"While we are disappointed that we didn't win the Heineken Cup quarter-final, we have still got plenty to play for. We are right up there in the PRO12 and hopefully we can get some silverware at the end of the season," he told the club's official website.
Dragons coach Darren Edwards
"Darren (Waters) has been hugely missed and the timing of his injury couldn't have been worse - there was a big opportunity for him after Gavin Thomas retired last season. While he was out we found Nic (Cudd), and that means that we have got two great sevens going into next year. Darren has worked so hard to come back and stood out in the Premiership, now we have to create some competition," he told the club's official website.
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Guinness PRO12 Table
|Sunday 14th September|
|Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 Glasgow|
|Saturday 13th September|
|Leinster 42 - 12 Scarlets|
|Friday 12th September|
|Ulster 33 - 13 Zebre|
|Edinburgh 13 - 14 Connacht|
|Newport Gwent D'gons 15 - 17 Ospreys|
|Benetton Treviso 10 - 21 Munster|
|Sunday 7th September|
|Zebre 26 - 41 Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 6th September|
|Glasgow 22 - 20 Leinster|
|Connacht 16 - 11 Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Scarlets 32 - 32 Ulster|
|Friday 5th September|
|Munster 13 - 14 Edinburgh|
|Ospreys 44 - 13 Benetton Treviso|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com