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Payne Returns For Ulster’s Showdown With Saracens

Payne Returns For Ulster’s Showdown With Saracens

Jared Payne will start at full-back for Ulster in Saturday’s European Champions Cup encounter with pool leaders Saracens at Allianz Park (kick-off 3.15pm).

Jared Payne will be making his first appearance of the season for the province after overcoming a foot injury he picked up during last year’s Rugby World Cup.

The fit-again Ireland international is joined in the back three by Craig Gilroy and Andrew Trimble, who earned his 200th Ulster cap against Munster a fortnight ago. Stuart McCloskey and Luke Marshall continue their impressive centre partnership, while influential pair Ruan Pienaar and Paddy Jackson occupy the half-back positions.

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Kyle McCall, man-of-the-match and Kingspan MVP in last Sunday’s memorable 24-23 win over Oyonnax, is named in the front row alongside captain Rory Best and Wiehahn Herbst, who has recovered from a calf strain.

Franco van der Merwe and Alan O’Connor will reunite in the second row, with Robbie Diack, Sean Reidy and Roger Wilson selected in the back row. Chris Henry has been ruled out with a slight shoulder injury.

Rob Herring, Callum Black, Ricky Lutton, Lewis Stevenson and Clive Ross will provide cover for the forwards, while Paul Marshall, Ian Humphreys and Rory Scholes are the back-line replacements.

ULSTER (v Saracens): Jared Payne; 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, Sean Reidy, Roger Wilson.

Replacements: Rob Herring, Callum Black, Ricky Lutton, Clive Ross, Sean Reidy, Paul Marshall, Ian Humphreys, Rory Scholes.