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Van der Merwe in Ulster team for return fixture v Clermont


Ulster's Franco van der Merwe on the attack

Ulster's Franco van der Merwe on the attack

©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Ulster's Franco van der Merwe on the attack

Les Kiss has made just one change to the starting XV for Ulster's Champions Cup clash away to ASM Clermont Auvergne this Sunday, from the side that defeated the Top 14 table-toppers last weekend at Kingspan Stadium.

Ulster will make the journey buoyed by the thrilling 39-32 victory over the star-studded French team, but will have it all to do once again versus a side that has lost just once in 27 previous European Cup games at home.

Franco van der Merwe will come into the second row to replace his fellow South African native Robbie Diack, who has been ruled out by injury and could be out for up to four weeks.

The rest of the match day squad remains unchanged, which means captain Rory Best and props Kyle McCall and Wiehahn Herbst will make up the front row, with Ireland trio Iain Henderson, Chris Henry and Sean Reidy named in the back row.

Half backs Ruan Pienaar and Paddy Jackson are again joined in the backline by Stuart McCloskey, Luke Marshall, Louis Ludik, Tommy Bowe and Charles Piutau.

Kieran Treadwell, who made his Champions Cup bow last weekend, is again named on the bench alongside fellow forwards Rob Herring, Andy Warwick, Rodney Ah You and Clive Ross.

Jacob Stockdale could make his European debut at Stade Marcel Michelin after being named among the replacements, while Paul Marshall and Darren Cave complete the match day 23.

Ulster team & replacements to play ASM Clermont Auvergne, European Rugby Champions Cup Round 4, Sunday 18th December, Stade Marcel Michelin (kick-off 4.05pm local time, 3.05pm GMT)

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

(1-8): K McCall, R Best (captain), W Herbst, P Browne, F van der Merwe, 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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