Planet Rugby

Preview: Ulster v Castres

11th October 2012 12:57

Share:

SKY_MOBILE Stephen Ferris Ulster

Switching to eight: Stephen Ferris

Last season's beaten finalists Ulster start their Heineken Cup campaign against Castres at Ravenhill on Friday.

Ulster are top of the Pro12 standings and unbeaten in their opening five games of the season. The Ulstermen have won their last 11 games at home in the Heineken Cup.

In stark contrast, Castres, consistent performers in the Top 14, have one of the worst away records in the tournament having won just won of their last 17 games on the road.

In team news, loose forward Iain Henderson will make his home debut for Ulster in the Pool 4 opener. Henderson replaces the injured Nick Williams, who has failed to recover from a rib injury picked up in the 25-0 win over Connacht on Friday.

Henderson will make his fourth appearance for the province, his first in the Heineken Cup. It follows Wednesday's news that the 20-year-old has signed his first full contract, keeping him at the club until June 2015.

Henderson's inclusion at blindside flanker will mean Stephen Ferris switches to the back of the scrum. The rest of the team is unchanged from the clinical victory over Connacht.

The only change on the bench will see Ruan Pienaar, who returned from Rugby Championship duty with South Africa earlier in the week, named in place of Michael Heaney.

After missing most of last season with an Achilles tendon injury, full-back Jared Payne will also make his European bow.

"I can't wait. I've been watching games at Ravenhill since I was a kid and I'm really looking forward to pulling on the white jersey and experiencing the atmosphere as a player," said Henderson.

"My first aim for the season was to be involved in a few PRO12 games but with the few injuries that we have in the back row, I've been given an opportunity and I have to try and grab it with both hands.

"Castres are a very physical team but they also throw the ball wide and have an expansive kicking game. That should make for a tough, but entertaining game. We'll have to work really hard to nullify their threats."

Castres currently occupy sixth position in the Top 14 having beaten Clermont Auvergne at the weekend, and with Ulster undefeated in the PRO12, it promises to be a tantalising clash.

The teams:

Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Andrew Trimble, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Stephen Ferris, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Iain Henderson, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Johan Muller (c), 3 John Afoa, 2 Rory Best, 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Callum Black, 18 Adam Macklin, 19 Lewis Stevenson, 20 Mike McComish, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Luke Marshall, 23 Craig Gilroy.

Castres: 15 Romain Teulet, 14 Marcel Garvey, 13 Seremaia Bai, 12 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 11 Marc Andreu, 10 Pierre Bernard, 9 Thierry Lacrampe, 8 Pedrie Wannenburg, 7 Yannick Caballero, 6 Piula Faasalele, 5 Rodrigo Capo Ortega, 4 Matthias Rolland, 3 Michaël Coetzee, 2 Mathieu Bonello, 1 Yannick Forestier.
Replacements: 16 Marc-Antoine Rallier, 17 Grégory Marmoiton, 18 Mihaïta Lazar, 19 Iosefa Tekori, 20 Antonie Claassen, 21 Rory Kockott, 22 Paul Bonnefond, 23 Thomas Sanchou.

Date: Friday, October 12
Venue: Ravenhill
Kick-off: 20:00 (19:00 BST)
Referee: Andrew Small

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , October 3
Bath vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 4
London Irish vs Northampton15:00
Harlequins vs London Welsh15:00
Gloucester vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , October 5
Sale vs Wasps14:00
Newcastle vs Exeter15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , October 4
South Africa vs New Zealand16:05
Argentina vs Australia23:40
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 3
Connacht vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Ulster vs Edinburgh19:35
Zebre vs Ospreys19:35
Saturday , October 4
Leinster vs Munster18:30
Sunday , October 5
Benetton Treviso vs Glasgow14:00
Scarlets vs Newport Gwent D'gons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , October 3
Oyonnax vs Toulon20:45
Saturday , October 4
Bordeaux-Begles vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Brive18:30
La Rochelle vs Lyon18:30
Castres vs Grenoble18:30
Bayonne vs Montpellier18:30
Toulouse vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 28
Wasps 35 - 18 NewcastleWasps vs Newcastle Report
Exeter 36 - 13 HarlequinsExeter vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 33 - 15 Benetton TrevisoNewport Gwent D
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 27
Leicester 19 - 22 London IrishLeicester vs London Irish Report
Saracens 40 - 19 Sale SharksSaracens vs Sale Sharks Report
Northampton 31 - 24 BathNorthampton vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
South Africa 28 - 10 AustraliaSouth Africa vs Australia Report
Argentina 13 - 34 New ZealandArgentina vs New Zealand Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Zebre 13 - 6 UlsterZebre vs Ulster Report
Munster 14 - 19 OspreysMunster vs Ospreys Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulon 40 - 17 MontpellierToulon vs Montpellier Report
Brive 34 - 24 Bordeaux-Begles
Grenoble 27 - 25 Racing Metro ParisGrenoble vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Oyonnax 8 - 19 Clermont Auvergne
Stade Francais 43 - 10 La Rochelle
Lyon 28 - 18 Castres
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh 10 - 46 GloucesterLondon Welsh vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 37 - 23 Cardiff BluesLeinster vs Cardiff Blues Report
Edinburgh 20 - 20 ScarletsEdinburgh vs Scarlets Report
Glasgow 39 - 21 ConnachtGlasgow vs Connacht Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bayonne 35 - 19 ToulouseBayonne vs Toulouse Report
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle 10 - 35 NorthamptonNewcastle vs Northampton Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Ospreys 62 - 13 EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 20
Sale 46 - 8 London WelshSale vs London Welsh Report
Bath 45 - 0 LeicesterBath vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens418
2Northampton416
3Bath415
4Exeter414
5Wasps411