Heineken Cup Pool 5: Leicester Tigers v Ulster preview

Last Updated: 18/01/14 10:21am

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The pick of the final round of Heineken Cup group matches sees Leicester host Ulster in a battle for top spot in Pool 5.

After 400 minutes apiece, it all comes down to these 80 in the East Midlands as two teams assured of knockout rugby play for a home tie.

Ulster are two points clear of the Tigers at the top so an away triumph would guarantee them a home run-in at a fully finished Ravenhill venue.

It's certainly possible they can get the job done at Welford Road, a venue that Harlequins have prevailed at while Bath and Saints claimed draws so far this season.

Ulster have a habit of going well on the road too, with Northampton finding that out last season and Montpellier this.

If Ulster can get the axis of Nick Williams, Ruan Pienaar and Paddy Jackson functioning then they could put pressure on Leicester, who have Anthony Allen back in the midfield.

Allen will be making his first appearance at Welford Road since October after coming back from injury with a role from the replacements bench in the bonus-point win at Treviso.

The inside centre and hooker Tom Youngs are recalled to the starting line-up, with vice-captain Allen joined by Matt Smith in the midfield.

Vereniki Goneva moves out to the left wing in place of Miles Benjamin who has a knee injury while club captain Toby Flood reverts to the fly-half role instead of Owen Williams.

Youngs returns to the front-row after missing the bonus-point win in Treviso last week, while Graham Kitchener and Ed Slater form a second-row partnership after also missing the trip to Italy. Jordan Crane returns to the number eight shirt ahead of Thomas Waldrom.

Ulster hooker Rory Best will make his 150th appearance for the province and will line up alongside John Afoa and Callum Black, who makes his first start in the Heineken Cup.

The inclusion of Black is one of two changes to the team that defeated Montpellier at Ravenhill last week. The other sees Roger Wilson selected at blindside with Robbie Diack moving to the bench. Williams starts at number eight, with Chris Henry picked at openside.

Craig Gilroy has recovered from the injury that he sustained against Montpellier and starts on the left wing with Andrew Trimble named on the right and Jared Payne continuing at 15.

Leicester Tigers: 15 Tait, 14 Morris, 13 Smith, 12 Allen, 11 Goneva, 10 Flood (capt), 9 Youngs; 1 Marcos Ayerza, 2 Tom Youngs, 3 Dan Cole, 4 Ed Slater, 5 Graham Kitchener, 6 Jamie Gibson, 7 Julian Salvi, 8 Jordan Crane.
Replacements: 16 Hawkins, 17 Stankovich, 18 Balmain, 19 Deacon, 20 Mafi, 21 Mélé, 22 Williams, 23 Hamilton.

Ulster: 15 Payne, 14 Trimble, 13 Cave, 12 Marshall, 11 Gilroy, 10 Jackson, 9 Pienaar; 1 Black, 2 Best, 3 Afoa, 4 Muller (capt), 5 Tuohy, 6 Wilson, 7 Henry, 8 Williams
Replacements: 16 Herring, 17 Court, 18 Lutton, 19 Henderson, 20 Diack, 21 Marshall, 22 McIlwaine, 23 Allen.

Watch Leicester take on Ulster live on Sky Sports 2HD at 6pm

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