Paddy Jackson could make seasonal bow for in-form Ulster

Charles Piutau and Craig Gilroy expected to return against embattled Scarlets

Charles Piutau: pacy All Black will be back in side after thumb injury. Photograph: Jonathan Porter/Presseye/Inpho

Charles Piutau: pacy All Black will be back in side after thumb injury. Photograph: Jonathan Porter/Presseye/Inpho

 

Paddy Jackson should be in line to make his first Ulster appearance of the season on Friday night when Les Kiss’s squad host the Scarlets.

The outhalf, who played in all three Tests against South Africa, is believed to be available again as Ulster chase a third straight win in the Pro12 following last weekend’s 22-11 victory in Treviso.

Andrew Trimble, another who featured prominently for Ireland this summer, is also thought to be in the mix, though matters appear more definitive regarding star signing Charles Piutau and Craig Gilroy, who are both due to play after missing last Saturday’s game in Italy.

Piutau comes back from a thumb injury, while Gilroy should be fit again after following return-to-play protocols in the wake of a concussion sustained in the opening bonus- point win against the Dragons.

Though Louis Ludik acquitted himself well at fullback in Treviso, Piutau’s return will give Ulster extra attacking edge in a threatening back three which should contain Gilroy and possibly Trimble.

Ulster are in third with nine points from a maximum of 10 but with the misfiring Scarlets having lost two from two there is a notion that the Kingspan Stadium side could come away with five points against a potentially demoralised Welsh outfit.

Dismissed

“We have to go into Friday night with a performance that delivers the win first and foremost,” Clarke said. “But we’re playing a good side who are a wounded animal,” Clarke said.

“This is a game we lost last season and we’ve got to deal with their threats, but we know it [a win] could put us in a very positive position both mentally and in the league.”

Piutau is also wary. “The Scarlets have a lot of strike power too in their backline and though they haven’t won their last two games that makes them even more dangerous.”

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