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Preview: Leicester v Ulster

18th November 2011 12:04

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nevin spence

Starting: Nevin Spence

Ulster will be without inside centre Paddy Wallace and tighthead prop John Afoa for their Heineken Cup clash with Leicester on Saturday.

Wallace will miss the trip to Welford Road after he had an operation to repair tendon damage in his thumb. The injury was picked up last weekend against Clermont and is likely to keep him on the sidelines for six to eight weeks. Nevin Spence is promoted to the XV alongside Darren Cave.

The other change is sees Declan Fitzpatrick start at prop in place of Afoa who had to return to New Zealand temporarily. Afoa, who was not due to join Ulster until December 1, had made a prior commitment to carry out best man duties at ex-Blues team-mate Jerome Kaino's wedding.

The promotion of Spence and Fitzpatrick means Paddy Jackson and Adam Macklin are named on the bench. The development duo will make their European debut if they emerge on Saturday.

The one other change on the bench will see Nigel Brady providing cover at hooker instead of Andi Kyriacou, who is this week given game time for the Ravens against Currie.

"Declan has proved to be a very good tighthead prop. A couple of years ago against Stade Francais in this competition he proved what he is capable of at this level," said McLaughlin.

"To lose Paddy is a blow. After the World cup he came back itching to play and it's very unfortunate for him. But in Nevin Spence we have an able replacement and we have no doubts he a can do an excellent job for us. We are very fortunate to have a lot of depth in that area with ian Whitten and also Luke Marshall who is making his way back from injury.

"Welford Road has always been a very difficult place to go. Maybe with the World Cup they haven't got off to the best of starts but with their internationals back they will be a tough nut to crack. But we are going there full of confidence."

Meanwhile, Leicester welcome back international duo Horacio Agulla and Ben Youngs to their squad for Saturday's Heineken Cup match.

Argentina's Agulla takes the number fourteen shirt after missing the Round 1 win over Aironi, while scrum-half Youngs is included among the replacements following his return to fitness after his World Cup campaign.

Captain Geordan Murphy will equal predecessor Martin Corry's record number of Heineken Cup games for the club as he runs out in Tigers colours for the 69th time in the competition.

Niall Morris, a try-scorer in the win in Italy last weekend, reverts to the replacements to make room for Agulla who has scored twice in three appearances this season.

The teams:

Leicester: 15 Geordan Murphy, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Andy Forsyth, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Jules Salvi, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Dan Cole, 2 George Chuter, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Martin Castrogiovanni, 19 George Skivington, 20 Steve Mafi, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Jeremy Staunton, 23 Niall Morris.

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

Date: Saturday, November 19
Kick-off: 18:00
Venue: Welford Road
Referee: Romain Poite (France)

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PosTeamPPts
1Ulster626
2Leicester Tigers621
3Montpellier611
4Treviso60