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Second Row Van Der Merwe Is Ulster’s Only Change

Second Row Van Der Merwe Is Ulster’s Only Change

Director of rugby Les Kiss has made just one change to the team for Ulster’s Champions Cup round 4 fixture away to Clermont Auvergne this Sunday (kick-off 4.05pm local time/3.05pm Irish time).

Ulster will make the journey buoyed by their thrilling 39-32 victory over the star-studded French team, but will have it all to do once more against a side that has lost just once in 27 previous European Cup games at home.

Franco van der Merwe will come into the second row to replace fellow South African native Robbie Diack, who has been sidelined by injury and could be out for up to four weeks.

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The rest of the province’s matchday squad remains unchanged, which means captain Rory Best and props Kyle McCall and Wiehahn Herbst will make up the front row, with the Ireland trio of Iain Henderson, Chris Henry and Sean Reidy retained in the back row.

Half-backs Ruan Pienaar and Paddy Jackson are again joined in the back-line by Stuart McCloskey, Luke Marshall, Louis Ludik, Tommy Bowe and Charles Piutau.

Kieran Treadwell, who made his Champions Cup bow last weekend, features on the bench alongside fellow forwards Rob Herring, Andrew Warwick, Rodney Ah You and Clive Ross.

Jacob Stockdale could make his European debut at Stade Marcel Michelin after being named among the replacements, while Paul Marshall and Darren Cave complete the 23-man panel.

ULSTER (v Clermont Auvergne): Charles Piutau; Tommy Bowe, Luke Marshall, Stuart McCloskey, Louis Ludik; Paddy Jackson, Ruan Pienaar; Kyle McCall, Rory Best (capt), Wiehahn Herbst, Peter Browne, Franco van der Merwe, Iain Henderson, Chris Henry, Sean Reidy.

Replacements: Rob Herring, Andrew Warwick, Rodney Ah You, Kieran Treadwell, Clive Ross, Paul Marshall, Darren Cave, Jacob Stockdale.