Ulster vs Clermont: Ulster make two changes to side that saw off Northampton

JJ Hanrahan returns for Clermont but bulk of French internationals left out of starting XV

Eric O’Sullivan returns to the Ulster starting XV. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Eric O’Sullivan returns to the Ulster starting XV. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Champions Cup: Ulster vs Clermont, Saturday January 22nd, Kingspan Stadium (5.30pm kick-off, live on BT Sports).

Ulster have made just two changes to the side that beat Northampton as they welcome Clermont Auvergne to Belfast.

Eric O’Sullivan comes in at loosehead for Andrew Warwick after he was forced off at Franklin’s Gardens with a HIA.

The other change comes in the backline as Angus Curtis replaces Stewart Moore at inside centre.

On the bench, Wales international Brad Roberts returns to provide hooker cover while Jack McGrath also comes back into the 23. Ian Madigan drops out of the squad as Ben Moxham takes up the 22 shirt with Craig Gilroy providing backthree cover.

Clermont make 10 changes from the group that saw off Sale at home. Former Munsterman JJ Hanrahan comes in for Camille Lopez as he partners Morgan Parra at halfback.

Damian Penaud drops onto the bench while his centre partner from the weekend George Moala comes out of the 23 entirely. Dangerous wing Alivereti Raka keeps his place in the backthree alongside Marvin O’Connor but there is no room for Japanese fullback Kotaro Matsushima.

In the pack, Argentinian lock Thomas Lavanini starts again at lock but there is an all-new frontrow with France international Rabah Sliman coming in as one of the new faces.

Ulster: Mike Lowry; Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Angus Curtis, Ethan McIlroy; Billy Burns, Nathan Doak; Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Marty Moore; Alan O’Connor (capt), Kieran Treadwell; Marcus Rea, Nick Timoney, Duane Vermeulen.

Replacements: Brad Roberts, Jack McGrath, Tom O’Toole, Sam Carter, Greg Jones, David Shanahan, Ben Moxham, Craig Gilroy.

Clermont: Cheikh Tiberghien; Marvin O’Connor, Jean-Pascal Barraque, Tani Vili, Alivereti Raka; JJ Hanrahan, Morgan Parra; Etienne Falgoux, Yohan Beheregaray, Rabah Slimani; Paul Jedrasiak, Tomas Lavanini; Judicael Cancoriet (capt), Lucas Dessaigne, Jacobus van Tonder.

Replacements: Etienne Fourcade, Daniel Bibi Biwizu, Cristian Ojovan, Sebastien Vahaamahina, Fritz Lee, Kevin Viallard, Camille Lopez, Damian Penaud.

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