Toulouse v Ulster, Stade Ernest-Wallon, 12.30pm

Eight days after falling short against Leinster, Ulster will be aiming to circle the wagons again and upset the applecart on French soil.

Their last two fixtures in the Pro14 have been all about stirring comebacks - to Edinburgh's frustration in the semi - and bright starts, as happened against Leinster in the decider before the latter reeled them in and coasted clear.

Dan McFarland's side fared reasonably well in the Champions Cup pool stages, winning five of six to qualify for the last-eight behind Clermont Auvergne.

Toulouse, however, were Leinster-like in winning six from six in a pool featuring Connacht, Gloucester and Montpellier.

Their talent is self-evident with names like Cheslin Kolbe, Romain Ntamack and Antoine Dupont rolling off the tongue and Ulster's defence is sure to be severely tested, although interestingly Toulouse fashioned fewer tries in the pool stage than the other table-toppers.

The European aristocrats, whose pedigree had diminished somewhat for the years prior to last season's semi-final run, are in the early stages of the new Top 14 season and come into Sunday's game off the back of a home win over Ronan O'Gara's La Rochelle, a week after a narrow three-point defeat away at Clermont on matchday one. 

Toulouse have moved the game to the more compact Stade Ernest-Wallon due to local restrictions and will have up to 5,000 fans in attendance.


Last week, McFarland admitted the choice he had to make between Alby Mathewson and John Cooney for the starting Ulster scrum-half spot was the "most difficult selection decision" that he had ever been involved in.

The Irishman lost out on that occasion but is back to start this weekend.

Ulster team: Michael Lowry, Rob Lyttle, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale; Billy Burns, John Cooney; Jack McGrath, Rob Herring, Tom O'Toole, Alan O'Connor, Iain Henderson (c), Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy, Nick Timoney.

Replacements: John Andrew, Eric O'Sullivan, Marty Moore, Sam Carter, Kieran Treadwell, Alby Mathewson, Matt Faddes, Matthew Rea.

Toulouse: Thomas Ramos, Yoann Huget, Sofiane Guitoune, Pita Ahki, Cheslin Kolbe; Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont; Cyril Baille, Peato Mauvaka, Charlie Faumuina, Rory Arnold, Joe Tekori, Jerome Kaino (c), Francois Cros, Selevasio Tolofua.

Replacements: Julien Marchand, Rodrigue Neti, Dorian Aldegheri, Emmanuel Meafou, Alban Placines, Zack Holmes, Alexi Bales, Matthis Lebel.


Live blog on RTÉ.ie/sport and the RTÉ News Now app. 


BT Sport 3 and Virgin Media 1 will broadcast live coverage.

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