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Published: 13:08 | 12/1/18

Gilroy and Ludik get nod for Ulster

Craig Gilroy and Louis Ludik both return to the Ulster fold for their vital clash with La Rochelle in the Champions Cup.

Gilroy comes into the side on the right flank, with Ludik starting at second centre, for the tie at Kingspan Stadium on Saturday, kick-off 13:00.

John Cooney also return to the team at scrumhalf, with Christian Lealiifano making his last home appearance for the province ahead of his return to the Brumbies at the end of the month.

Stuart McCloskey will partner Ludik in midfield, with the tournament's leading metre-maker, Charles Piutau, named at fullback.

Alan O'Connor returns to the second row, with Academy player Nick Timoney named at No 8. Rory Best captains the side from hooker.

Ulster: Charles Piutau, Craig Gilroy, Louis Ludik, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Christian Lealiifano, John Cooney; Callum Black, Rory Best (c), Rodney Ah You, Alan O'Connor, Iain Henderson, Matthew Rea, Sean Reidy, Nick Timoney.

Replacements: Rob Herring, Kyle McCall, Ross Kane, Kieran Treadwell, Chris Henry, David Shanahan, Jonny McPhillips, Darren Cave.

The fifth round of the European Rugby Champions Cup takes place over the weekend of 12-14 January, and you can watch the best of the action on BT Sport on the eir Sport package. On Friday, 12 January, Premiership side Bath host Pro 14 side Scarlets at the Recreation Ground [BT Sport 2, kick-off 7.45pm], then on Saturday, 13 January, Premiership leaders Exeter Chiefs take on Top 14 side Montpellier at Sandy Park [BT Sport 2, kick-off 3.15pm], and Pro 14 side Ospreys meet Premiership side Saracens at the Liberty Stadium later the same evening [BT Sport 3, kick-off 7.45pm].

On Sunday, 14 January, Top 14 side Toulon take on Benetton at the Stade Felix Mayol [BT Sport 2, kick-off 2pm], while Top 14 side Castres host Premiership side Leicester Tigers at the Stade Pierre Fabre [BT Sport 2, kick-off 6.30pm].  

Image: Inpho/ Morgan Treacy

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