Best to return for seasonal bow
Rugby:Rory Best is in line to make his first appearance of the season after being named in Mark Anscombe’s preliminary squad for Friday’s home derby with Connacht (Ravenhill, 7.05pm).
The Ireland hooker has not played since the Test match against New Zealand on June 23rd. Captain Johann Muller is included after overcoming the niggling injuries which ruled him out of the excellent win over Cardiff last Friday. Ireland internationals Stephen Ferris and Declan Fitzpatrick also return to the extended 25 man squad.
Meanwhile Ulster announced that scumhalf Michael Heaney has signed a new contract that will keep him at the province until the end of the season. A graduate of the Phoenix Ulster Academy, the 21 year old rejoined Ulster from Doncaster Knights in the summer on an initial four month contract.
Heaney has represented Ulster at all levels and made his senior debut for the province in a pre-season friendly away to Harlequins in August 2010. He was a member of the Ireland U-20 squad that won the 2010 Six Nations Championship and also competed in the IRB Junior World Championships later that year.
Heaney said: “I am delighted to be extending my contract with Ulster. It was a great opportunity to have been given the initial four month contract and I am pleased that I will be able to stay and to continue to represent my province.”
Ulster squad:Rob Herring, Rory Best, Declan Fitzpatrick, John Afoa, Tom Court, Callum Black, Johann Muller, Dan Tuohy, Lewis Stevenson, Stephen Ferris, Mike McComish, Iain Henderson, Chris Henry, Nick Williams, Paul Marshall, Michael Heaney, Niall O’Connor, Paddy Jackson, Paddy Wallace, Darren Cave, Luke Marshall, Andrew Trimble, Tommy Bowe, Craig Gilroy, Jared Payne.