Speaking on the selection of Colin as captain Head Coach Paul Turner said, "We are still waiting for Kevin Morgan to return form injury and Colin has the leadership qualities needed at this level. I was very pleased with both Craig Warlow's attitude and captaincy style in the first couple of games. The more leaders within the side the better and Colin's experience on the big occasion is invaluable."
Paul Turner maintains his policy of bringing the youngsters through with three academy members named in the 25-man squad for the match. Ashley Smith (centre) and Richard Wilkes (hooker) join scrum half Alex Walker who made his debut in the league last weekend against Glasgow. Gareth Maule is ruled out with a broken leg suffered in the win at Hughenden.
"We are looking to develop the younger players and bring them through," commented Paul. "Its about them gaining experience on the bigger stage and taking their opportunity when it comes. Alex played very well last weekend and showed maturity on the field. It is unfortunate that Gareth Maule picked up an injury but we introduce Ashley Smith and Richard Wilkes into the squad this week. They are all youngsters with huge potential and have impressed while training with The Dragons over the summer."
Ashley Smith made his regional debut last December as a replacement in The Dragons Powergen Cup match against Worcester. He has been capped at every level since U16 and had an outstanding Six Nations for Wales U19s last year where the youngsters captured the Grand Slam.
Richard Wilkes came on during the first half of The Dragons pre season match against Bath when hooker Ben Daly was forced to leave the field injured. Remarkably Richard only converted from prop to hooker 18 months ago and since that time has made huge strides in the professional game. He played for three months last season in the USA which has helped his development both on and off field.
It is hoped that Peter Sidoli will have recovered from his foot injury which kept him out against Bath and Glasgow to take his place in the match day squad.
"It is a fantastic way to start the season for the players and supporters alike, kicking off our opening game against current champions Ulster," said Paul Turner. "They showed last weekend how difficult they are to beat and proved last year that even though they may be 16-0 down they can still come from behind to win the game. That match taught us a massive lesson and made us mentally stronger. The win up in Glasgow has given everyone in the squad a massive boost and the character of the side really shone through."
Match winner for The Dragons last weekend was Ceri Sweeney who slotted over an injury time penalty to seal the win for the Men of Gwent. He is relishing Saturday's match against reigning champions Ulster saying, "We are expecting a tough match on Saturday as Ulster are a very good side. We didn't beat them last year but are determined to put that right in our first home game. We watched their game against the Scarlets last weekend and they were very impressive they controlled the game well and showed why they are current League champions. It is a huge game for us on Saturday and the reason why we play rugby. Friday's win was one of those games you will always remember, where you dig deep and the team really showed their resolve. Saturday should be another great match, they have quality throughout their side in David Humphries, Justin Harrison and Kevin Maggs and we have to play to our potential if we are to get a result. But we are back at home and we are determined to make Rodney Parade a fortress once again. There is a real buzz among the boys who are looking forward to taking on the champions on our home patch. We hope that the buzz extends off field and supporters are looking forward to us taking on the top side in Celtic rugby. It was a team effort up in Glasgow, we worked as a team and got the win, if we do the same on Saturday we are confident we can get a result."
Saturday's match squad includes seven of the regions summer signings, wing Aled Brew, fly half Mike Hercus, hooker Ben Daly, prop Lee Harrison and back row men Colin Charvis, Nic Fitisemanu and Joe Bearman.
Hooker Kieran Crawford is named for the first time in The Dragons squad for a year after injuring his shoulder at the start of last season.
"We are in for a tough opening home match but we are well prepared and determined to perform well at home," concluded Sweeney. "We need to keep our composure, defend when needed but also look to entertain and play some rugby. We are determined to start out home campaign with a win and give supporters something to shout about."
Gareth Wyatt, Nathan Brew, Aled Brew, Ceri Sweeney, Ashley Smith, Craig Warlow, Mike Hercus, Alex Walker, Gareth Baber, Adam Black, David Maddocks, Ben Daly, Steve Jones, Kieran Crawford, Richard Wilkes, Rhys Thomas, Lee Harrison, Bryn Griffiths, Ian Gough, Peter Sidoli, Colin Charvis, Joe Bearman, Jamie Ringer, Nic Fitisemanu.