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Ulster will be out to give French a lesson

By Martin Mawhinney

Ulster will prepare for the new Rabo Direct Pro 12 season with a testing double-header of friendlies next month.

Brian McLaughlin’s men take on French side Bayonne on August 10, as part of a five day pre-season training camp in the south of France.

They then play host to Harlequins on August 26 — a week before the season gets underway.

Ulster’s opponents will be eager to enter their campaigns in winning fashion, with both looking to build on respective seventh place finishes in the Top 14 Championship and Aviva Premiership last season.

For Bayonne, it will also be a first outing for New Zealand’s Joe Rokocoko (pictured), who has signed a two year-deal from the Auckland Blues.

Ulster too, will want to show some more of the promise of last season, which saw them finish third in the Magners League and reach the semi-final of the Heineken Cup.

An improvement on last season’s fortunes will show McLaughlin is heading in the right direction.

Tickets for the home pre-season friendly are available from July 4, with free entry for 2011/12 season ticket holders.

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