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Rory Best and Paddy Jackson return for Ulster's Clermont Champions Cup clash

Rory Best and Paddy Jackson are included in Ulster's starting 15 for Saturday's Champions Cup fixture against Pool 5 leaders ASM Clermont Auvergne at the Kingspan.

Best and Jackson return to provincial action after their participation in Ireland's successful November series.

The international pair are two of four changes to the team that claimed a bonus point 23-35 win over Cardiff Blues last weekend, with Robbie Diack and Louis Ludik also earning starting berths.

Best will captain the side from hooker and he will be joined in the front row by props Kyle McCall and Wiehahn Herbst. Diack and Pete Browne will form a mobile second row unit, with Iain Henderson, Chris Henry and Sean Reidy making up an all-international loose forward trio.

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Jackson will partner the influential Ruan Pienaar at half back, while Stuart McCloskey and Luke Marshall will continue in midfield. Ludik, who made a try-scoring return from injury in Cardiff, is named in a back three that also includes Tommy Bowe and Charles Piutau.

Rob Herring, Andy Warwick and Rodney Ah You will provide Kiss with strong front row options off the bench. Exciting young lock Kieran Treadwell and utility forward Clive Ross are also named among the replacements. Paul Marshall, Darren Cave and Ireland U20 star Jacob Stockdale complete the match day squad.

This will be the third fixture between the clubs after they met in the pool stage in 2011/12, when both matches were won by the home side.

Ulster have won seven of their last eight home games against Top 14 opposition, the only defeat coming against RC Toulon.

However, on Saturday, they will come up against a formidable Clermont side that has won its last five games against Irish opposition.

Franck Azéma's men have been extremely impressive so far this season as they remain the only team to take maximum points from their opening two European games, and also lead the way in the Top 14, with just 3 losses after 13 rounds.

Ulster team and replacements to play ASM Clermont Auvergne, European Rugby Champions Cup, Saturday 10th December, Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 1.00pm):

(15-9): C Piutau, T Bowe, L Marshall, S McCloskey, L Ludik, P Jackson, R Pienaar;

(1-8): K McCall, R Best (capt), W Herbst, P Browne, R Diack, I Henderson, C Henry, S Reidy;

Replacements (16-23): R Herring, A Warwick, R Ah You, K Treadwell, C Ross, P Marshall, D Cave, J Stockdale.

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