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O’Connor To Start For Ulster Against Toulouse

O’Connor To Start For Ulster Against Toulouse

The Ulster team has been named for Friday’s European Champions Cup Pool 1 showdown with French powerhouses Toulouse at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 7.45pm).

Rory Best returns to captain the side and will start in the front row alongside Wiehahn Herbst and Kyle McCall, who supporters recently voted as Ulster’s Kingspan Player of the Month for November.

Alan O’Connor will take over from the injured Dan Tuohy in the second row, pairing up with the experienced Franco van der Merwe, while Robbie Diack, Chris Henry and Nick Williams make up the loose forward trio.

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There is a new centre partnership with Stuart McCloskey and Luke Marshall (pictured below) combining in midfield. Craig Gilroy is recalled to the left wing, with Andrew Trimble occupying the right wing berth and Louis Ludik completing the back-three. Ruan Pienaar and Paddy Jackson will continue to direct play from the half-back positions.

Rob Herring, who led Ulster to a 14-7 GUINNESS PRO12 win over Edinburgh last weekend, is named on the replacements bench along with fellow forwards Andrew Warwick, Ricky Lutton, Clive Ross and Roger Wilson. Paul Marshall and Ian Humphreys will again provide back-up for Pienaar and Jackson respectively, with Rory Scholes also included in the matchday squad.

Speaking ahead of the crunch European clash, Ulster director of rugby Les Kiss said: “Toulouse are predictably unpredictable. They have a massive squad that is full of internationals, so that gives them some really good options all over the park.

“They’re second in the Top 14 so it’s a huge challenge for us, but the boys have shown great character and we’ll step up to the plate. Hopefully the conditions are good and the supporters will see a quality game of rugby.”

Tickets for the eagerly-awaited Ulster v Toulouse tie are still available through www.ticketmaster.ie. The match will be televised live on BT Sport Europe.

ULSTER (v Toulouse): Louis Ludik; Andrew Trimble, Luke Marshall, Stuart McCloskey, Craig Gilroy; Paddy Jackson, Ruan Pienaar; Kyle McCall, Rory Best (capt), Wiehahn Herbst, Alan O’Connor, Franco van der Merwe, Robbie Diack, Chris Henry, Nick Williams.

Replacements: Rob Herring, Andrew Warwick, Ricky Lutton, Clive Ross, Roger Wilson, Paul Marshall, Ian Humphreys, Rory Scholes.