There was a big question mark over Gilroy after he suffered a knee injury during Ulster’s first RaboDirect Pro12 defeat of the season down at Thomond Park last Saturday night. However, after a scan on Monday showed no serious damage and Gilroy returned training ready for a hectic three weeks for the Ulstermen.
“It couldn’t be any better at the start of the new year, first against second,” said stand-in skipper Chris Henry.
“I suppose it will be a good time to meet the Scarlets after their big defeat against the Ospreys, and they will be hurting. They have had a bit of a dip the way we had ours in Italy.
“They will be desperate to get the points and obviously we will be desperate to keep or extend the nine-point lead at the top.
“We have to try and get a bit of momentum. We are back at Ravenhill, the crowd will be out in force, and there have been a lot of talk of where we are at present, and the players are loving it. But we need to win the game at home and leave us with a positive frame of mind into Europe. But first things first,” said Henry, who finds getting into the team harder and harder.
“The two games following Friday, against Glasgow and Castres in Europe, are also massive and there will be huge opportunities for people to claim a place,” said Henry who knows the players will have their feet on the ground and not looking to far ahead.
“If you speak to any of the players, its about week to week and not getting too far of ourselves. Certainly that’s is the way I have approached playing for Ulster and something I don’t want to lose sight off. Things can change overnight and its all about bringing consistency to my game ... and any player will tell you the same.
Forwards: Rob Herring, Rory Best, Niall Annett, Callum Black, Tom Court, John Afoa, Adam Macklin, Lewis Stevenson, Neil McComb, Dan Tuohy, Iain Henderson, Robbie Diack, Chris Henry, Nick Williams, Roger Wilson. Backs: Paul Marshall, Michael Heaney, Ruan Pienaar, Paddy Jackson, Luke Marshall, Paddy Wallace, Darren Cave, Craig Gilroy, Andrew Trimble, Jared Payne, Adam D’Arcy.