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Ireland's Jacko back to make French club giants 'beat it'


Ulster’s Paddy Jackson

Ulster’s Paddy Jackson

Ulster’s Paddy Jackson

Ireland internationals Rory Best and Paddy Jackson will add class to Ulster's tall order against Clermont-Auvergne at the Kingspan Stadium this afternoon.

It is about time Ulster put their sub-standard season behind them and turned on the taps.

They are liberally sprinkled with real quality from their talisman Ruan Pienaar, Charles Piutau and Iain Henderson.

The introduction of Irish captain Best and Jackson, as well as the nods given to Robbie Diack and Louis Ludik, complete the four changes made from the collective which axed Cardiff Blues in the PRO12 last week.

The announcement of Wiehahn Herbst's new contract must have come as a significant boost for their front row union.

The industrious Pete Browne and cerebral Franco van der Merwe provide balance in the second row in front of a loose trio anchored by Sean Reidy at number eight.

Watch out for the influence of Tommy Bowe, looking leaner and sharper in showing a hungry appetite for work against Cardiff.

In recent years, Clermont have made no bones about their ambition to reign in Europe.

While Ulster have won seven of their last eight at home to French clubs, Les Jaunards have won all five of their recent matches against the Irish provinces.

Ulster can put a hole in this unbeaten run if they can combine passion with precision.

Ulster: C Piutau; T Bowe, L Marshall, S McCloskey, L Ludik; P Jackson, R Pienaar; K McCall, R Best (capt), W Herbst, P Browne, R Diack, I Henderson, C Henry, S Reidy.

Clermont: S Spedding; D Strettle, R Lamerat, W Fofana, N Abendanon; C Lopez, M Parra; D Zirakashvili, B Kayser, R Chaume, F van der Merwe, S Vahaamahina, D Chouly (capt), A Lapandry, P Yato.

Verdict: Ulster.

  • Ulster v Clermont-Auvergne, Kingspan stadium, Today (ko 1.0), live SS2