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Best and Henderson both out as Ulster make five changes for Champions Cup play-off clash against Ospreys



Rory Best

Rory Best

©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Rory Best

Only a win will seal Champions Cup rugby for Ulster next season, but they'll have to do it without international duo Rory Best and Iain Henderson.

Banbridge man Best has been ruled out of Sunday's play-off against Ospreys at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 3.05pm) with a hamstring injury sustained in training while Henderson is sidelined after limping off in the final PRO14 match with a knee problem.

Departing head coach Jono Gibbes has made five changes to the side that drew 24-24 with Munster as Robbie Diack, Callum Black and Charles Piutau all start for their final games for the province. There is no place in the squad for Tommy Bowe, Andrew Trimble or Paul Marshall, who will all retire at the end of the season.

In the pack, Rob Herring replaces Best at hooker and takes the captain's armband. Kieran Treadwell comes into the line-up to take Henderson's spot while Diack returns with Clive Ross also out due to a knee injury.

Piutau comes in at full-back after missing the Munster game due to personal reasons, with John Cooney making a welcome return from concussion. Craig Gilroy and Dave Shanahan drop to the bench as Louis Ludik shifts to right wing.

Academy lock Jack Regan could make his senior debut after being named among the replacements. Hailing from County Offaly, the second row joined Ulster from Leinster last summer.

Tickets for the game are available from just £12 for children and £17 for adults via ulsterrugby.com/buytickets.

Ulster Rugby team to play Ospreys

(15-9): C Piutau; L Ludik, L Marshall, S McCloskey, J Stockdale, J McPhillips, J Cooney;

(1-8): C Black, R Herring (captain), R Kane, A O'Connor, K Treadwell, R Diack, S Reidy, N Timoney;

Replacements (16-23): J Andrew, A Warwick, T O'Toole, J Regan, C Henry, D Shanahan, D Cave, C Gilroy.

Belfast Telegraph