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Pienaar back to save Ulster's season


Ruan Pienaar

Ruan Pienaar

Ruan Pienaar

Ulster v The Scarlets, Kingspan Stadium, Today (KO7.45) BTSport2

Neil Doak has been heartened by the return of Ruan Pienaar and Dan Tuohy to orchestrate what needs to be a five-point return.

Or else, Ulster's European turkey, will be cooked long before Christmas.

The good news is that The Scarlets offer up opportunities to attack; the bad is that they can take them too.

The inclusion of Dan Tuohy will allow Franco van der Merwe to work on his game as a lineout leader with plenty of beef in the back row.

Ulster: L Ludik; T Bowe, D Cave, S Olding, C Gilroy; I Humphreys, R Pienaar; C Black, R Best (capt), W Herbst, D Tuohy, F van der Merwe, R Diack, R Wilson, N Williams.

The Scarlets: L Williams; H Robinson, R King, S Williams (capt), M Tagicakibau; R Preistland, A Davies; R Evans, E Phillips, S Lee, J Ball, J Snyman, A Shingler, J Davies, R Pitman.

Verdict: Ulster.

Connacht v Bayonne, The Sportsground, Today (KO 5.0)

Coach Pat Lam makes one change from the side that beat The Scarlets in the PRO12 League. Lock Mick Kearney will come in to partner on-loan Quinn Roux for the injured Andrew Browne.

The interest of Bayonne will be put to the test in the first-quarter when Connacht will find out how trying a time they will be given.

Connacht: M Muliaina; D Poolman, B Aki, D McSharry, M Healy; J Carty, K Marmion; D Buckley, T McCartney, R Ah You, M Kearney, Q Roux, J Muldoon (capt), E McKeon, G Naoupu.

Bayonne: M Bustos-Moyano; P Sayerse, L Foketi, S Vaka, J Elissalde; M Ugalde, B Duhalde; L Pointud, S Labouyrie, G Jgenti, D Senekal (capt), L Fa'aoso, B Chouzenoux, C Ancely, T Visensang.

Verdict: Connacht.