With Johnny Sexton as good as confirmed to be starting against Wales, there's been quite a lot of questions asked as to whom Joe Schmidt would turn on the bench. Ian Madigan is away to France at the end of the season. The reason for that is, at least partly, because he hasn't been as much as he would like this season.
Paddy Jackson, on the other, is not only sticking around with Ulster but he's playing and he's playing well. He's even kicking well having taken the tee from Ruan Pienaar. With that in mind, it had looked likely that Schmidt may turn to Jackson as Sexton's deputy for the upcoming Six Nations campaign. Not so it would seem.
Ulster have this afternoon named their squad to take on the Dragons in Kingspan Stadium on Friday night and the big news is that Jackson has been released from the Ireland squad to take his place on the bench with Ulster.
There has been quite a lot said about the possibility that Schmidt could continue to pick the likes of Marty Moore and Madigan when they head overseas at the end of the season. We've yet to get a definitive answer on that but the selection of Madigan on the bench for Sunday's game against Wales is certainly interesting in that regard.
He may still be a Leinster player at the moment but you'd have to think that if Schmidt didn't see him as a viable long term option, he would have went with Jackson as the alternative to Sexton this weekend.
Ulster team to face the Dragons:
Backs: L Ludik, C Gilroy, D Cave, S Olding, J Stockdale, I Humphreys, R Pienaar;
Forwards: C Black, R Herring (capt), R Lutton, A O'Connor, P Browne, R Diack, S Reidy, R Wilson;
Replacements: J Andrew, K McCall, B Ross, C Ross, N Williams, P Marshall, P Jackson, R Scholes.