Planet Rugby

Preview: Ulster v Northampton

14th December 2012 12:34

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George Pisi Northampton Saints tackled by two Ulster players Heineken Cup - round three

Crunch: Andrew Trimble and George Pisi

Chris Henry has been named as captain for the second of Ulster's back-to-back Heineken Cup Pool 4 clashes with Northampton.

Ulster have made just one personnel change and one positional switch from the side that beat the Saints 6-25 at Franklin's Gardens last Friday.

Regular skipper Johann Muller is sidelined with a displaced fracture in his arm so 20-year-old Iain Henderson has moved into the second-row alongside Dan Tuohy. Nick Williams has been promoted from the bench to fill the vacant loose forward spot.

Andrew Trimble will make his 50th Heineken Cup appearance in Saturday's encounter, following in the footsteps of Paddy Wallace and Tommy Bowe, who done so in round 2 and 3 of the competition respectively.

There is only one change on the bench which sees Neil McComb replace Williams. Ricky Lutton will make his European debut if he takes to the field at any time during Friday's game. The 26-year-old development prop has made one previous appearance - as a substitute in the RaboDirect PRO12 win over Edinburgh last month.

Meanwhile, Northampton make six changes to their starting XV, with Lee Dickson and Stephen Myler coming in at half-back. Tom May also starts at inside centre replacing Dom Waldouck.

Mikey Haywood replaces the suspended Dylan Hartley at hooker, with Paul Doran-Jones coming in at tighthead prop to replace Brian Mujati who is on the bench.

A reshuffle in the pack sees Calum Clark move into the second-row, with Tom Wood moving to blindside flanker and Phil Dowson coming in on the openside. Courtney Lawes is on the bench.

A third defeat in this season's competition would see Northampton knocked out, with Ulster looking for their 14th straight win of the season to help guarantee a home quarter-final.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Andrew Trimble, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Roger Wilson , 7 Chris Henry (c), 6 Nick Williams, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 John Afoa, 2 Rory Best, 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Nigel Brady, 17 Callum Black, 18 Ricky Lutton, 19 Neil McComb, 20 Robbie Diack, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Luke Marshall, 23 Craig Gilroy.

Northampton Saints: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Tom May, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Gerrit-Jan van Velze, 7 Phil Dowson, 6 Tom Wood, 5 Calum Clark, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Paul Doran-Jones, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.
Replacements: 16 Ross McMillan, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Brian Mujati, 19 Mark Sorenson, 20 Courtney Lawes, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 Luther Burrell.

Date: Saturday, December 15
Venue: Ravenhill
Kick-off: 18.00 GMT
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Gwyn Morris (Wales), Jonathan Mason (Wales)
Television match official: Derek Bevan (Wales)

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Pool 1
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Leinster622
2Northampton617
3Castres69
4Ospreys65
Pool 2
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Toulon624
2Cardiff Blues614
3Exeter612
4Glasgow Warriors611
Pool 3
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PosTeamPPts
1Toulouse623
2Saracens620
3Connacht613
4Zebre60
Pool 4
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Clermont Auvergne624
2Harlequins616
3Scarlets611
4Racing Metro Paris67
Pool 5
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Ulster626
2Leicester Tigers621
3Montpellier611
4Treviso60
Pool 6
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Munster623
2Gloucester614
3Edinburgh612
4Perpignan67