Heineken Cup: Ulster Rugby I XV Team for Aironi Rugby

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Brian McLaughlin has made just one change to his starting team for Ulster’s return Heineken Cup match versus Aironi at the Stadio Brianteo on Saturday (kick off 1.30pm GMT).

Ireland prop Tom Court has been recalled to the side and will help form an all-International forward pack. Paddy McAllister is the man to make way, despite showing up well in last week’s clash at Ravenhill. Court is joined in a formidable 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 in the back row.

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 weekend but he has recovered sufficiently and will take his place in the centre alongside Darren Cave. Adam D’Arcy has retained the fullback 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.

Ulster Match Day Squad to face Aironi, Sat 17th December, Stadio Brianteo, Monza (kick-off 1.30pm GMT)
(15-9): A D’Arcy; A Trimble, D Cave, N Spence, C Gilroy; I Humphreys, R Pienaar;
(1-8): T Court, R Best, J Afoa, J Muller (capt), D Tuohy, S Ferris, C Henry, P Wannenburg;
Replacements (16-23): N Brady, P McAllister, A Macklin, T Barker, R Diack, P Marshall, P Jackson, S Terblanche

Unavailable due to injury: Jared Payne (achilles), Paddy Wallace (thumb), Declan Fitzpatrick (neck)

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