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Ireland Captain Best Returns To Ulster Team

Ireland Captain Best Returns To Ulster Team

Ireland captain Rory Best will make his first start of the season when the Ospreys visit Kingspan Stadium on Saturday for round 5 of the GUINNESS PRO12 (kick-off 6.30pm).

There are eight changes to the team that started last week’s 22-17 win over Glasgow Warriors in Scotstoun, as as Ulster director of rugby Les Kiss continues to manage his playing resources during what is a hectic fixture schedule.

Seated tickets for the Ulster v Ospreys game are now sold out. Limited terrace tickets are still available and can be purchased online here.

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Rory Best, who played 35 minutes against Glasgow last Friday, will be joined in the front row by the returning Kyle McCall and Rodney Ah You, who has impressed at tighthead prop in the opening rounds.

Franco van der Merwe will captain the side in the absence of Rob Herring and Andrew Trimble, who will sit out this week due to squad management and recovery from a foot injury respectively. The South African lock will be joined in the engine room by Alan O’Connor for the second successive week.

Back rowers Iain Henderson, Sean Reidy and Roger Wilson, which functioned so effectively during last week’s victory in Glasgow, are retained.

Paul Marshall and Paddy Jackson will make up an experienced partnership at at half-back, with no less than 282 caps for the province between them.

Charles Piutau has reverted to full-back and will be joined in the back-three by Louis Ludik on the left wing and Craig Gilroy, who missed out last week through injury, on the right. Jared Payne will don the number 13 jersey alongside Darren Cave, who shifts across to inside centre.

Tommy Bowe is in line to make his first appearance in an Ulster jersey in almost five months. The former Ospreys features among the replacements alongside fellow backs Ruan Pienaar and Brett Herron.

John Andrew, Callum Black, Ross Kane, Kieran Treadwell and Robbie Diack will provide the forwards cover from the bench.

ULSTER (v Ospreys): Charles Piutau, Craig Gilroy, Jared Payne, Darren Cave, Louis Ludik; Paddy Jackson, Paul Marshall; Kyle McCall, Rory Best, Rodney Ah You, Alan O’Connor, Franco van der Merwe, Iain Henderson, Sean Reidy, Roger WIlson.

Replacements: John Andrew, Callum Black, Ross Kane, Kieran Treadwell, Robbie Diack, Ruan Pienaar, Brett Herron, Tommy Bowe.