Michael Allen is ready to fight for regular spot in Ulster team

Michael Allen has made an impressive start to the season for Ulster
Michael Allen has made an impressive start to the season for Ulster

Michael Allen wants his form to dictate how much he plays for Ulster this year.

The wing, who is Ulster's top try-scorer (three) in the Pro12 campaign, has been involved in all but one of Ulster's games this season.

He will start in Friday's away trip to the Scarlets and says he is relishing the competition for places in Mark Anscombe's squad.

"Last year I would have been fearing the competition whereas this year I'm trying to embrace it," said Allen.

The 22-year-old can play at fullback and outside centre but it's on the wing where he is primarily trying to establish himself in this Ulster side.

"It's nice to be recognised that after Tommy Bowe and Andrew Trimble, there's me.

"Obviously Craig Gilroy will be coming back from injury soon which will be a headache for me, but as a young player it's great to have those guys to badger for information and learn from.

"I'm going to try and get as many games as I can - and not just when the internationals are away.

"I don't want to be playing because of injuries either. I want my form to dictate the selection rather than the personnel."

After a period at the start of the season when they weren't taking their chances, Ulster have displayed a clinical edge in recent weeks and are gunning for a seventh straight victory when they travel to the Scarlets.

Allen is enjoying playing in such an explosive backline and singled out out-half Paddy Jackson for special praise.

"The way Paddy Jackson is playing, he is controlling the backline extremely well.

"He will be away with Ireland this week, but the last few weeks he was playing I thought he was outstanding. h

"He was creating opportunities and a few phases down the line, he was able to give me opportunities on the wing.

"Having Ruan (Pienaar) back is going to add a new dimension to the team, and the quality of players Ulster have in the backline creates chances."