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Best Set For Ulster Return

Best Set For Ulster Return

Ian Whitten, Simon Danielli and Robbie Diack are the only survivors as Ulster head coach Brian McLaughlin makes twelve changes in personnel for Saturday’s interprovincial derby against Munster at Thomond Park (kick-off 7.30pm).

The most notable change sees regular captain Rory Best making his return from injury at hooker. Best fractured his cheekbone during Ireland’s defeat to New Zealand last month, and is back in provincial action ahead of a busy New Year period.

He slots into an almost entirely new starting pack from the one that lined out in last Monday’s 30-13 loss to Leinster at Ravenhill.

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Best, Bryan Young and Declan Fitzpatrick form the front row, Tim Barker and Ryan Caldwell link up in the second row and South African Robbie Diack is joined in the back row by Thomas Anderson and Willie Faloon.

Ireland international Paddy Wallace gets some more game-time at out-half, with Paul Marshall replacing Ruan Pienaar at scrum half.

Jamie Smith and Tommy Seymour join Simon Danielli in a new-look back-three, while the 19-year-old Luke Marshall will make his first Magners League start at centre.

Another teenager and Ireland Under-20 hopeful, out-half Paddy Jackson, is poised to make his senior bow for Ulster off the bench.

ULSTER (v Munster): Jamie Smith; Tommy Seymour, Ian Whitten, Luke Marshall, Simon Danielli; Paddy Wallace, Paul Marshall; Bryan Young, Rory Best (capt), Declan Fitzpatrick, Tim Barker, Ryan Caldwell, Thomas Anderson, Willie Faloon, Robbie Diack.

Replacements: Andi Kyriacou, Tom Court, BJ Botha, Neil McComb, Chris Henry, Ian Porter, Paddy Jackson, David McIlwaine.