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Ulster kick-off their latest European adventure with a trip to Clermont to face a Top 14 side under the tutelage of former boss Jono Gibbes.
The New Zealander previously managed Ulster for a season in 2017-18 – the last year in which Ulster missed the Pro14 playoffs.
He returned to New Zealand to coach Waikato instead of seeing out his contract after an underwhelming season.
Gibbes took the Clermont job after spending time with Ronan O’Gara at La Rochelle, leading them to the Champions Cup final last season.
However, his start to life in France has been a mixed bag with impressive wins and poor losses galore.
Dan McFarland’s Ulster have been a far more consistent outfit as a whole but their form in recent weeks has failed to back that up.
The provincial outfit will be hoping to bounce back from defeat to Ospreys with a victory over the three-time Challenge Cup champions.
Their strength as a team grows every year and they are expected to get better with the arrival of new signing Duane Vermuelen.
The World Cup-winning Springbok will make his debut for the Ulstermen this weekend after recovering from Covid-19 following the end of his international duty for the year.
Former Munster fly-half JJ Hanrahan will wear the number 10 shirt for the French outfit hosting the Irish province.
The likes Peceli Yato and Damian Penaud also appear in the starting XV but four players miss out due to Covid – one confirmed case, one close contact and two unvaccinated players.
(15-9) Mike Lowry, Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Ethan McIlroy, Billy Burns, John Cooney;
(1-8) Andrew Warwick, Rob Herring, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor (Capt.), Kieran Treadwell, Marcus Rea, Nick Timoney, Duane Vermeulen;
Replacements: John Andrew, Jack McGrath, Ross Kane, Sam Carter, Greg Jones, Sean Reidy, Nathan Doak, Stewart Moore.
Clermont Auvergne 4/9
Where To Watch
The game kicks off at 5:300 pm and will be shown live on BT Sport 3 – coverage starts at 5:15 pm.