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Court To Start For Ulster

Court To Start For Ulster

Brian McLaughlin has made just one change to his starting team for Ulster’s return Heineken Cup match against Aironi Rugby at the Stadio Brianteo in Monza on Saturday (kick-off 2.30pm local time/1.30pm Irish time).

Ireland prop Tom Court has been recalled to the side and will help form an all-International forward pack.

Paddy McAllister is the man to make way, despite showing up well in last weekend’s first clash at Ravenhill. Court is joined in a formidable front row by Rory Best and John Afoa.

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Captain Johann Muller and Dan Tuohy will again form the second row partnership, while Stephen Ferris, the man-of-the-match in his last two games, will link up with Chris Henry and Pedrie Wannenburg in the back row.

The back-line is unchanged from the one that helped the province register a 31-10 bonus point win over the Italians in round 3.

Nevin Spence was an injury worry after taking a blow to the sternum last time out but he has recovered sufficiently and will take his place in the centre alongside Darren Cave. Adam D’Arcy has retained the full-back spot after impressing in his last two outings.

Pool 4 is the tightest at this stage of the tournament with just two points separating the top three teams. Ulster currently sit in second place, one point adrift of leaders Clermont Auvergne and one ahead of Leicester Tigers.

A second successive bonus point victory for Ulster on Saturday would put them in a strong position ahead of the final two games in the New Year.

The Ulstermen will have a home fixture against Leicester in mid-January, before travelling to the Stade Marcel Michelin where Clermont Auvergne are unbeaten in 35 matches.

ULSTER (v Aironi Rugby): Adam D’Arcy; Andrew Trimble, Darren Cave, Nevin Spence, Craig Gilroy; Ian Humphreys, Ruan Pienaar; Tom Court, Rory Best, John Afoa, Johann Muller (capt), Dan Tuohy, Stephen Ferris, Chris Henry, Pedrie Wannenburg.

Replacements: Nigel Brady, Paddy McAllister, Adam Macklin, Tim Barker, Robbie Diack, Paul Marshall, Paddy Jackson, Stefan Terblanche.