Rory Best and Stuart McCloskey set to return to Ulster duty

Ireland captain Rory Best and Stuart McCloskey will start for Ulster away to Dragons on Friday evening.

However, Jacob Stockdale and Iain Henderson will rest up before the Champions Cup back-to-back games against Harlequins over the following two weeks.

Ulster will still be without Jean Deysel, Robbie Diack, and Jared Payne this weekend although assistant coach Dwayne Peel says there will be not too many changes from last week’s dramatic last-ditch win over Benetton Treviso in Belfast.

Peel also spoke at length about Stockdale’s growing reputation. “When he broke through last year he showed he had exceptional ability — you could see that finishing prowess with him,” said Peel the former Lions and Welsh scrum-half.

“For me, he’s just going to get better and better but there are things he still has to work on. His physical attributes are really good, he’s massive, he’s quick and if he can keep working on his skills then the sky’s the limit.

“He has been class hasn’t he (this November)? It’s amazing when you see him play, his try against Argentina was a classic. He’s so big that defenders think he’s going to run over the top of them, and then he’s got so much gas, he can just as easily run around them.

“A big focus of ours at Ulster is to get him into the game, and I think that’s what Ireland have done. They got him into the game well, and it was his strengths really. He has had a good season so far, and hopefully, when we get him back in a couple of week he will continue the form for us.

“The young lad is a good example for everyone. For young ones, it’s a good example right across the board. If we can keep working on that work ethic, it bodes well (for Ulster).”


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