Ireland captain Rory Best star...

Rugby

Ireland captain Rory Best starts from the bench in Ulster's game against Oyonnax

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

12:57 22 Jan 2016


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In the week where he was named Ireland captain, Rory Best will start from the bench in Ulster's Champions Cup game at home to Oyonnax.

Darren Cave has recovered from a shoulder injury and will feature for the first time since the start of December, with Stuart McCloskey getting a well-earned rest after playing all 16 of Ulster's matches this season. Number 8 Nick Williams is also back in the fray.

Best has minor back tightness and has not been able to train fully this week, so he will start the game on the bench. That means that Rob Herring, who has been named in Ireland's squad for rounds one and two of the Six Nations, will deputise as both hooker and captain.

Ruan Pienaar has been ruled out by illness, while Wiehahn Herbst has a foot injury, so Paul Marshall and Ricky Lutton come into the side at scrumhalf and tighthead prop respectively.

Herring and Lutton are joined in the front row by Kyle McCall, with Alan O'Connor and Franco van der Merwe continuing in the engine room. Robbie Diack and Sean Reidy will again pack down either side of Williams in the back row.

Marshall is joined at half-back by Paddy Jackson, with Cave and Luke Marshall combining in midfield. The back three consists of Andrew Trimble, Craig Gilroy and Jared Payne, who will make his first home appearance of the season for Ulster.

Best is joined on the bench by fellow forwards Callum Black, Bronson Ross, Clive Ross and Roger Wilson. Dave Shanahan, Ian Humphreys and Rory Scholes are the backline replacements.

Director of Rugby Les Kiss expects a tough game against the French outfit: "They are a good team and they will provide a big challenge for us. We need to stay focused on our game, make our tackles, start the match with the right attitude and play with discipline, because they can hurt you if you give the ball away easily. They showed that last week against Toulouse and against us a fortnight ago.

Ulster team and replacements to play Oyonnax.

(15-9): Jared Payne, Andrew Trimble, Darren Cave, Luke Marshall, Craig Gilroy, Paddy Jackson, Paul Marshall.

(1-8): Kyle McCall, Rob Herring (capt), Ricky Lutton; Alan O'Connor, Franco van der Merwe, Robbie Diack, Sean Reidy, Nick Williams.

Replacements (16-23): Rory Best, Callum Black, Bronson Ross, Clive Ross, Roger Wilson, Dave Shanahan, Ian Humphreys, Rory Scholes.

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