Heineken Champions Cup: Players will 'fight to the end for us' - Peel

Iain Henderson and Jacob Stockdale
Ulster won their opening Champions Cup encounter against Bath by one point after Jacob Stockdale intercepted a Bath attack with the last play of the game
Heineken Champions Cup: Ulster v Clermont Auvergne
Venue: Kingspan Stadium, Belfast Date: Friday, 22 November Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Ulster, BBC Sport website, app and BBC Sounds.

Head coach Dan McFarland has made four changes for Ulster's European Champions Cup game against Clermont.

Battling Ulster edged out Bath in their opener by one point, but it came at a cost with Jack McGrath, Sam Carter and Rob Lyttle all picking up injuries.

Louis Ludik comes in for Lyttle on the wing, with Eric O'Sullivan replacing McGrath and Alan O'Connor stepping into lock beside captain Iain Henderson.

Sean Reidy replaces Matthew Rea at flanker in Ulster's other change.

Ludik will be joined in the back three by Jacob Stockdale, whose last-gasp interception won the game for Ulster at the Recreation Grounds on Saturday, and Will Addison.

Stuart McCloskey and Luke Marshall are retained in the centre while Billy Burns and John Cooney will again link up in the half-back partnership.

O'Sullivan joins Rob Herring and Marty Moore in the front row while O'Connor and Henderson will be the starting pairing at lock for the first time this season.

Jordi Murphy and Marcell Coetzee join the returning Reidy in the back row to complete the starting team.

Clermont, who hammered Harlequins 52-21 in their Pool Three opener, make three changes for the game in Belfast, with Arthur Iturria replacing Alexandre Fischer at flanker.

French internationals Morgan Parra and Camille Lopez drop to the bench, with Greig Laidlaw and Jake McIntyre stepping into the side.

Ulster 'will fight to the end'

Assistant coach Dwayne Peel has admitted that Ulster need to improve if they are to beat highly-fancied Clermont.

"If you don't start well then you are on the back foot straight away, so to get a win was massively important for us," said Peel.

"They have a star-studded team, so we'll need to be good if we're to win."

Despite the challenge of the Top 14 outfit coming to Belfast, Peel hopes that Ulster can take momentum from their tight win away to Bath.

Rob Lyttle and John Cooney
Rob Lyttle and John Cooney scored Ulster's tries in their opening-game win over Bath

"To get an away win in the European Cup is huge and to get a win at the start of the tournament was big as well," said the former Wales scrum-half.

"We know there is a massive challenge coming this week, and from my perspective we probably weren't as cohesive as we could have been against Bath.

"We left a few points out there and when we looked back at the video we felt that we could have done a bit better.

"I think that we need to improve. They've got fire power throughout their team, so it is going to be a big challenge for us.

"We're confident in our ability here and the boys have been training well.

"They are a real tight group and I think the last 30 seconds of the Bath game summed this team up - the boys will fight to the end for us."

Ulster: Addison, Ludik, Marshall, McCloskey, Stockdale, Burns, Cooney; O'Sullivan, Herring, Moore, O'Connor, Henderson, Reidy, Murphy, Coetzee.

Replacements: McBurney, McCall, O'Toole, Treadwell, Timoney, Shanahan, Johnston, Gilroy.

Clermont Auvergne: Abendanon, Betham, Toeava, Moala, Raka, McIntyre, Laidlaw; Falgoux, Ulugia, Slimani, Jedrasiak, Timani, Yato, Iturria, Lee.

Replacements: Tadjer, Uhila, Ziraksahivili, Lanen, Dessaigne, Parra, Lopez, Naqalevu.

Top Stories

Also in NI Sport