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Herring To Lead Ulster Team In Galway

Herring To Lead Ulster Team In Galway

The Ulster squad has been named for their GUINNESS PRO12 festive showdown with provincial rivals Connacht at the Sportsground on Saturday (kick-off 6pm).

Rob Herring replaces Rory Best as hooker and captain, as the latter gains a well-earned break. Andrew Warwick will make his fifth start of the season at loosehead prop, with Wiehahn Herbst anchoring the other side of the scrum.

Alan O’Connor and Franco van der Merwe continue their second row partnership from the memorable European Champions Cup back-to-back wins over Toulouse.

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There is one change in the back row, with Nick Williams coming in for Roger Wilson at number 8, while Robbie Diack and Sean Reidy are retained as the other loose forwards.

Rory Scholes is the only newcomer to the back-line, replacing the injured Craig Gilroy on the left wing. Andrew Trimble is named on the right flank and Louis Ludik will again line out at full-back.

Stuart McCloskey and Luke Marshall will start together in midfield for the third consecutive outing, and Ruan Pienaar and Paddy Jackson will feature in their usual half-back positions.

Stephen Mulholland will make just his second senior appearance if called upon from the bench, while the dynamic John Andrew will provide cover for Herring in the middle of the scrum. Callum Black, Ricky Lutton and Wilson are the other forward replacements.

Experienced half back duo Paul Marshall and Ian Humphreys are also included in the matchday squad, along with talented young outside back Sam Arnold.

ULSTER (v Connacht): Louis Ludik; Andrew Trimble, Luke Marshall, Stuart McCloskey, Rory Scholes; Paddy Jackson, Ruan Pienaar; Andrew Warwick, Rob Herring (capt), Wiehahn Herbst, Alan O’Connor, Franco van der Merwe, Robbie Diack, Sean Reidy, Nick Williams.

Replacements: John Andrew, Callum Black, Ricky Lutton, Stephen Mulholland, Roger Wilson, Paul Marshall, Ian Humphreys, Sam Arnold.