Injured Ulster trio in frame for French trip

The injured trio of Paddy Jackson, Jared Payne and Craig Gilroy were named in Ulster’s provisional 26-man squad for the Heineken Cup trip to Castres on Saturday.

Injured Ulster trio in frame for French trip

Fly-half Niall O’Connor and experienced hooker Nigel Brady return to a fairly familiar-looking squad. However, Jackson is quickly responding to treatment for a turned ankle and Payne’s groin strain has also eased while Ulster are confident Gilroy will complete the Graduated Return To Play protocol following a bang to the head.

With a tough test ahead of them up front at Stade Pierre Antoine, coach Mark Anscombe may bring in the hardened Neil McComb to partner Lewis Stevenson in the engine room and leave Iain Henderson on the bench, while with explosive number eight Nick Williams sidelined for eight weeks, Roger Wilson gets a chance to show why he returned to Ulster after four years with Northampton.

Wilson insisted Ulster are desperate for a victory which would secure a home quarter-final.

He said: “You have seen the way the tournament has gone over the years and playing at home in the last eight can be crucial. Looking at it, if we don’t win on Saturday we could be facing a difficult away trip to either Clermont or Toulon, which obviously we do not want to do. So there is no doubt that we will be going all out to do everything in our power to secure a home quarter-final.”

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