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Preview: Ulster v Clermont

11th November 2011 09:30

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Johann Muller running for Ulster

Skipper: Johann Muller

Ulster have named an unchanged XV for their opening Heineken Cup Pool 4 match against Clermont on Saturday.

Captain Johann Muller and Ireland players Tom Court and Stephen Ferris have all shaken off injuries picked up during the win over Connacht.

There are two changes among the replacements with Declan Fitzpatrick returning from injury in place of Adam Macklin and Willie Faloon coming in for Robbie Diack.

New signing John Afoa will make his European debut, just a week after making his first start for Ulster. The World Cup winner is surrounded by experience up front, with all eight forwards players having been capped at international level.

With Ruan Pienaar injured, Paul Marshall will again be handed the scrumhalf jersey and is partnered at half back by Ian Humphreys. Paddy Wallace and Darren Cave form the centre combination, while Simon Danielli will continue in the relatively unfamiliar fullback role.

Clermont have made good progress in the Top 14 despite having 12 players on World Cup duty in New Zealand. They currently trail Toulouse by just one point after 10 rounds, highlighting the difficulty of the task laying ahead for Ulster.

Brian McLaughlin is delighted to have Muller, Court and Ferris available and he can now name the same starting XV for the second consecutive week.

"To have the three guys available is a brilliant boost for us, you need your key players on the pitch. We have some people in the squad who are understandably disappointed at missing out, but it shows the quality we have assembled," he said.

"Continuity is very important and it gives us momentum going into what is a massive game for us.

"Clermont are an exceptional side, they've proved that with their results in the Top 14. We are going to focus on us, cut out the errors and try to be a bit more clinical when opportunities arise."

Meanwhile, Clermont have included Aurélien Rougerie in their line-up alongside former Scarlets midfield man Regan King. New summer signing David Skrela directs from fly-half with international number nine Morgan Parra also named in his regular position.

Like King, Lee Byrne will also make his European debut in the yellow shirt on Saturday.

The teams:

Ulster: 15 Simon Danielli, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Craig Gilroy, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Pedrie Wannenburg, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Stephen Ferris, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Johann Muller (capt), 3 John Afoa, 2 Rory Best, 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Andi Kyriacou, 17 Paddy McAllister, 18 Declan Fitzpatrick, 19 Lewis Stevenson, 20 Willie Faloon, 21 Ian Porter, 22 Nevin Spence, 23 Adam D'Arcy.

Clermont: 15 Lee Byrne, 14 Wesley Fofana, 13 Aurélien Rougerie, 12 Regan King, 11 Noa Nakaitaci, 10 David Skrela, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Elvis Vermeulen, 7 Gerhard Vosloo, 6 Julien Bonnaire, 5 Julien Pierre, 4 Nathan Hines, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Lionel Faure.
Replacements: 16 Ti'i Paulo, 17 Clément Ric, 18 Mattheus Kotze, 19 Jason White, 20 Julien Bardy, 21 Kevin Senio, 22 Brock James, 23 Jean-Marcel Buttin.

Date: Saturday, November 12
Kick-off: 15:40
Venue: Ravenhill
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

  • Ulster Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , December 6
Ulster vs Scarlets19:45
Sunday , December 14
Scarlets vs Ulster17:15
Saturday , January 17
Toulon vs UlsterTBC
Saturday , January 24
Ulster vs LeicesterTBC
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Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 21
Ulster vs OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Preview
Friday , November 28
Munster vs Ulster19:35
Saturday , December 20
Ospreys vs Ulster17:15
Saturday , December 27
Ulster vs ConnachtTBC
Saturday , January 3
Leinster vs Ulster14:40
Saturday , January 10
Benetton Treviso vs UlsterTBC
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
  • Ulster Results
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Guinness PRO12
Saturday , November 1
Ulster 23 - 6 Newport Gwent D'gonsUlster vs Newport Gwent D
More Guinness PRO12 results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , October 25
Ulster 13 - 23 Toulon
Saturday , October 18
Leicester 25 - 18 Ulster
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
Guinness PRO12
Saturday , October 11
Ulster 29 - 9 Glasgow
Friday , October 3
Ulster 30 - 0 Edinburgh
More Guinness PRO12 results
  • Table
Pool 3
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Toulon28
2Scarlets24
3Leicester Tigers24
4Ulster21