Match Page 2017-18 - Scoreboard WP ID: 132

Match Page 2017-18 - Last Time WP ID: 133

Match Page 2017-18 - Current Standing WP: 134

Match Page 2017-18 - H2H WP: 136

Match Page 2017-18 - Last 3 Matches WP: 142

Match Page 2017-18 - Season so Far WP:141

Preview: Ulster v Dragons

Andrew Lawton 21 Sep 2017

The Dragons travel to the Kingspan Stadium to take on high-flying Ulster with Les Kiss’ men unbeaten in the opening three rounds of the Guinness PRO14.

What’s at stake? Ulster will be looking for a fourth straight win to kick off their league campaign following wins over the Toyota Cheetahs, Benetton Rugby and Scarlets.

The Irish province are level at the top of Conference B with Leinster and will be hoping to continue their impressive start to the campaign.

The Dragons meanwhile beat Connacht 21-8 last time out to earn their first victory of the new season after defeats to Edinburgh and Leinster.

Team news (Ulster): Nick Timoney will make his first appearance of the season after being named at No.8 with British & Irish Lion Iain Henderson named on the bench.

Darren Cave will make his first start of the season when he combines with last week’s Man of the Match, Stuart McCloskey, in the midfield.

Charles Piutau has recovered from a hamstring injury to take his place at full-back.

Team news (Dragons): Head coach Bernard Jackman has made wholesale changes to the side that beat Connacht last week with newly signed Thretton Palamo set for his debut.

The front row have all been promoted from the bench to the starting XV as props Thomas Davies and Lloyd Fairbrother are named alongside hooker Gerard Ellis.

The second row sees Matthew Screech get the nod as Rynard Landman retains his position, whilst the back row has two changes made to it.

Max Williams and Robson Blake get their first starts alongside Welsh International flanker Ollie Griffiths who captains the side.

Talking points: Ulster’s impressive victory over reigning champions Scarlets demonstrated they will be a team to watch in the Guinness PRO14 this season.

And Kiss is confident there is even more to come from his squad as they prepare to take on a Dragons squad still adapting to new head coach Jackman’s ways.

“I don’t think it was a 10 out of 10 from us but it’s a sign that we’re on the right track. We can’t lose the run of ourselves,” Kiss said. “It’s a good marker but there are work-ons.”

Key Battle: Darren Cave v Thretton Palamo

Cave makes his first start of the season at outside centre and faces another debutant in Palamo.

The versatile USA back has been signed by the Dragons from Bristol Rugby this week as injury cover and is thrust straight into the starting XV.

Key Stat: Ulster are unbeaten in their last nine Guinness PRO14 fixtures played in Belfast – a sequence that includes a 24-all draw with Cardiff Blues in Round 19 last season.

Did you know? Ulster have won their last four fixtures against Dragons since the Welsh regions’ 26-22 victory at Rodney Parade in March 2015.

Ulster: C Piutau, T Bowe, D Cave, S McCloskey, J Stockdale, P Nelson, P Marshall, K McCall, R Herring, R Ah You, R Diack, A O’Connor, C Ross, C Henry, N Timoney

Replacements: J Andrew, A Warwick, W Herbst, I Henderson, M Rea, D Shanahan, B Herron, R Lyttle.

Dragons: C Meyer, A Hughes, T Palamo, P Howard, G Gasson, D Jones, O Leonard, T Davies, G Ellis, L Fairbrother, M Screech, R Landman, M Williams, O Griffiths, R Blake.

Replacements: R Buckley, P Price, B Harris, J Davies, L Greggains, D Blacker, A O’Brien, W Talbot-Davies.

TV: BBC Sport NI (KO 7.35pm)

Match officials: Referee: Dan Jones (WRU), AR1: Ian Davies (WRU), AR2: Adam Jones (WRU) TMO: John Mason (WRU)

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 for adults and €5 for children, and be booked via www.ticketmaster.ie

Historical Lineup Pre Opta (sfms data) - Preview - v2

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups WP: 135

Match Page 2017-18 - Match Data WP: 140

Match Page 2017-18 - Timeline WP:139

Ruthless Ulster march on with Dragons triumph

Daniel Barnes 22 Sep 2017

Ulster maintained their unbeaten start to the new Guinness PRO14 season with a dominant home victory over the Dragons.

Les Kiss’ troops racked up their fourth success from as many games by racing into an unassailable advantage at Kingspan Stadium while youngster Nick Timoney had his moment in the spotlight with his first two senior tries for the men in white.

Stuart McCloskey got the Ulstermen off to the perfect start, diving over the line following slick build-up play from Charles Piutau, Clive Ross and Chris Henry.

A sixth-minute penalty from the boot of Dorian Jones reduced the early deficit but back came Ulster, who scored their second try of the match courtesy of Peter Nelson, who dotted down to the right of the posts before converting himself.

Another Jones penalty with 15 minutes on the clock saw the Dragons make it 12-6 but that only served to spur on the home side, who blitzed forward again with purpose six minutes later and were awarded a penalty try when the visitors’ Lloyd Fairbrother was reprimanded for collapsing a rolling maul.

With 26 minutes gone, Ulster had scored their bonus-point try, with Timoney forcing his way over to claim his first Guinness PRO14 try, the youngster receiving the congratulations of his teammates before Nelson stepped up to tuck away the extras once again.

The onslaught continued as Wiehahn Herbst was next to finish off another Ulster offensive, Nelson again making no mistake to further stretch his team’s advantage.

However, the Dragons eventually found something to shout about once again when Rhys Buckley darted his way over the line, Jones dissecting the posts to make it 31-13.

There was to be no sea-change in the visitors’ luck after the break however, with Thretton Palamo punished for failing to ground to a loose ball near his own try-line, Jacob Stockdale pouncing to score his team’s sixth try of the evening.

Then, with less than 49 minutes gone, Timoney burst into life once again and, deploying a slick side-step, the 22-year-old dived over to seal a brace, leaving Nelson with an easy conversion to make it 45-13.

With 57 minutes on the clock, the Dragons grabbed their second try of the match through replacement scrum-half Dane Blacker and Angus O’Brien kicked the resultant conversion.

But back came the hosts, with David Shanahan taking a quick tap penalty and blazing a trail over the whitewash, Brett Herron adding the extras as Ulster won by a sizeable margin.

The last word would go to the Dragons however as they gobbled up a loose ball and Will Talbot-Davies streaked away for a late breakaway try.

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 for adults and €5 for children, and be booked via www.ticketmaster.ie

Match Page 2017-18 - Summary WP:137

Match Page 2017-18 - Match Data WP: 140

Match Page 2017-18 - Timeline WP:139

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups WP: 135

Match Page 2017-18 - Performance WP:138