Best a step closer to return

Wed, 08 Jan 2014 09:05
Large rory best ball

Ireland hooker Rory Best could make a quicker than forecast return after being included in Ulster's squad for their European Cup tie against Montpellier.

Ireland hooker Rory Best could make a quicker than forecast return to action after being included in Ulster's squad for their European Cup tie against Montpellier on Friday.

Best was expected to be sidelined until at least the middle of January after breaking his arm in Ireland's last-gasp 22-24 defeat by New Zealand in Dublin in November.

However, the front row forward was included by Ulster coach Mark Anscombe in the squad.

"We'll do the best thing for Rory because there is a lot of big rugby ahead for him and us," Anscombe told the BBC.

"If we are going to get full value out of him, we have got to look after him now. We'll make sure we do the right thing."

French club Montpellier have no chance of qualifying for the knockout stages after losing three of their pool matches but a cautious Anscombe added: "There is no point in talking about [the final Pool game against] Leicester.

"We have got a pretty important game on Friday against Montpellier. If we don't do the job against Montpellier, what's the point worrying about Leicester."

Ulster currently lead Pool Five by three points from English giants Leicester, with only the pool winners guaranteed a quarter-final spot.

Montpellier led the French Top 14 when the two teams last met in October but a run of poor results has seen them drop down to seventh place since then.

Nevertheless, Anscombe said he was still worried by the threat posed by a side featuring several full internationals including the likes of Francois Trinh-Duc and Nicolas Mas.

"They have got some great backs and some big men up front."

AFP

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EUROPEAN CUP
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Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
Munster 6 5 0 1 24
Glasgow Warriors 6 4 0 2 19
Leicester Tigers 6 2 0 4 8
Racing Metro 6 1 0 5 5
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Wasps 6 4 1 1 22
Toulouse 6 3 2 1 18
Connacht 6 4 0 2 18
Zebre 6 0 0 6 0
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Saracens 6 5 1 0 24
Toulon 6 3 0 3 16
Scarlets 6 2 1 3 11
Sale Sharks 6 1 0 5 4
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 6 4 1 1 23
Montpellier 6 3 0 3 16
Castres 6 2 1 3 12
Northampton Saints 6 2 0 4 9
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Clermont Auvergne 6 5 0 1 26
Bordeaux 6 3 0 3 14
Exeter Chiefs 6 2 0 4 12
Ulster 6 2 0 4 10