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Preview: Aironi v Ulster

16th December 2011 10:42

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Tom Court ulster aironi Magners league

Back at 1: Tom Court

Brian McLaughlin has made just one alteration to his starting line-up for Ulster's return Heineken Cup match against Aironi at the Stadio Brianteo.

Tom Court has been recalled and will help form an all-International pack. Paddy McAllister is the man to make way, despite showing up well in last week's clash at Ravenhill. Court is joined in the front-row by Rory Best and John Afoa.

Captain Johann Muller and Dan Tuohy will again form the second-row partnership, while Stephen Ferris - man of the match in his last two games - is joined by Chris Henry and Pedrie Wannenburg.

The backline is unchanged from the one that defeated the Italians 31-10 in Round 3. Nevin Spence was an injury worry after taking a blow to the sternum last week but he has recovered sufficiently and will take his place alongside Darren Cave. Adam D'Arcy has retained the full-back jersey after impressing in his last two outings.

Pool 4 is the tightest at this stage of the tournament with just two points separating the top three teams. Ulster currently sit in second position in Pool 4, one point adrift of leaders Clermont Auvergne and one ahead of Leicester.

A bonus-point win for Ulster on Saturday would put them in a strong position ahead of the final two games in the New Year. The Ulstermen are faced with a home fixture against Leicester mid-January, before travelling to the Stade Marcel Michelin, where Clermont have recorded victories in their previous 35 matches.

Meanwhile, Aironi are boosted by the return of Andrea Masi for their game in Monza but will be withouth Carlo del Fava in the second-row. He is replaced by Quintin Geldenhuys.

Luciano Orquera is back at fly-half, replacing Tito Tebadli, who drops to the bench.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Aironi: 15 Ruggero Trevisan, 14 Sinoti Sinoti, 13 Andrea Masi, 12 Gabriel Pizarro, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Tyson Keats, 8 Josh Sole, 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Nicola Cattina, 5 Marco Bortolami, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Lorenzo Romano, 2 Fabio Ongaro, 1 Salvatore Perugini.
Replacements: 16 Tommaso D'Apice, 17 Alberto de Marchi, 18 Fabio Staibano, 19 George Biagi, 20 Filippo Ferrarini, 21 Tito Tebaldi, 22 Naas Olivier, 23 Roberto Quartaroli.

Ulster: 15 Adam D'Arcy, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Nevin Spence, 11 Craig Gilroy, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 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 Nigel Brady, 17 Paddy McAllister, 18 Adam Macklin, 19 Tim Barker, 20 Robbie Diack, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Paddy Jackson, 23 Stefan Terblanche.

Date: Saturday, December 17
Venue: Stadio Brianteo, Monza, Monza
Kick-off: 14.30 (13.30 GMT)
Referee: Greg Garner

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  • Table
Pool 5
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Ulster626
2Leicester Tigers621
3Montpellier611
4Treviso60