Preview: Oyonnax v Ulster

Date published: November 13 2015

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Oyonnax have made five changes to their starting line-up for their first European Champions Cup game of the season against Ulster on Saturday.

Starting in the backs, Silvere Tian gets a run on the right wing in place of Daniel Ikpefan. On the other wing, Alaska Taufa moves aside for Tonga's Fetu'u Vainikolo.

There is also an important change in the halves, as Regis Lespinas and Fabien Cibray replace Nicky Robinson and Piri Weepu at fly-half and scrum-half respectively, with Weepu moving to the bench.

In the forwards, prop Stanley Wright drops out of the matchday 23 altogether, with Laurent Delboulbes taking his place.

Meanwhile, Ulster have made seven changes to their team. Ireland wingers Andrew Trimble and Craig Gilroy return to the side for the clash at Stade Charles Mathon and they will play in the back three alongside full-back Peter Nelson.

Ruan Pienaar and Paddy Jackson will start together at half-back for the first time this season, while Luke Marshall and Darren Cave will line out in midfield.

Kiss has rewarded Kyle McCall with another start, following an impressive display against Dragons last week. Captain, Rory Best, will operate at hooker in place of Rob Herring, while Ricky Lutton has been given an opportunity at tighthead.

Dan Tuohy and Franco van der Merwe will continue their second-row partnership, while Robbie Diack and Chris Henry will be joined in the back-row by number eight Nick Williams.

Callum Black, Wiehahn Herbst, Lewis Stevenson and Sean Reidy will provide forward cover on the bench alongside Herring.

Academy scrum-half, Dave Shanahan, as well as Ian Humphreys and Louis Ludik, are also included among the replacements.

Oyonnax will host their first ever Champions Cup game and Kiss believes that makes them an extremely difficult proposition:

"They would like nothing more than to say they have won their first ever Champions Cup game. We just don't want to be ambushed by that and we've got to make sure we're level-headed. We're very aware that they will be a tough task at home; they've earned their way into the competition on the back of their form at home in the Top 14," he said.

"They've got a crowd that get right behind them and we've got to make sure we produce a performance that can absorb that and hopefully quieten the crowd and put us on the front foot."

Form: Oyonnax make their Champions Cup debut, becoming the 20th French team to participate in the competition. Ulster have won six of their last nine matches against French opponents, however they lost their last two (v Toulon) by a combined margin of 48pts. Ulster won only two of their six pool matches in the 2014/15 Champions Cup, their worst performance since 2008/09, although they also drew a game in that campaign. Ulster had the worst kick success rate in the competition last season, successfully slotting just 52% of their attempts at goal.

The teams:

Oyonnax: 15 Florian Denos (c), 14 Silvere Tian, 13 Vincent Martin, 12 Eamonn Sheridan, 11 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 10 Regis Lespinas, 9 Fabien Cibray, 8 Viliami Maafu, 7 Olivier Missoup, 6 Valentin Ursache, 5 Fabrice Metz, 4 George Robson, 3 Marc Clerc, 2 Jody Jenneker, 1 Laurent Delboulbès.
Replacements: 16 Jeremie Maurouard, 17 Soane Tonga'uiha, 18 Antoine Guillamon, 19 Leon Power, 20 Pierrick Gunther, 21 Pedrie Wannenburg, 22 Piri Weepu, 23 Nicky Robinson.

Ulster: 15 Peter Nelson 14, Andrew Trimble, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Craig Gilroy, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Robbie Diack, 5 Franco Van Der Merwe, 4 Dan Tuohy, 3 Ricky Lutton, 2 Rory Best, 1 Kyle McCall.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Callum Black, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Lewis Stevenson, 20 Sean Reidy, 21 David Shanahan, 22 Ian Humphreys, 23 Louis Ludik.

Date: Saturday, November 14
Venue: Stade Charles Mathon
Kick-off: 14:00 local (13:00 GMT)
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: Darren Gamage (England), Robin Goodliffe (England)
Television match official: Trevor Fisher (England)
Timekeeper: Pierre Bertherat (France)
Assessor: Joël Dumé (France)

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