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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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 09 December 2016
Northampton Saints v Leinster 19h45 Franklin's Gardens
Sat, 10 December 2016
Ulster v Clermont Auvergne 13h00 Kingspan Stadium
Munster v Leicester Tigers 15h15 Thomond Park
Racing Metro v Glasgow Warriors 16h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Saracens v Sale Sharks 17h30 Allianz Park
Zebre v Toulouse 20h45 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Sun, 11 December 2016
Wasps v Connacht 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Montpellier v Castres 14h00 Altrad Stadium
Toulon v Scarlets 16h15 Stade Felix Mayol
Exeter Chiefs v Bordeaux 17h30 Sandy Park
EUROPEAN CUP
MORE LOGS
Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
Munster 1 1 0 0 5
Glasgow Warriors 2 1 0 1 5
Leicester Tigers 2 1 0 1 4
Racing Metro 1 0 0 1 0
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Connacht 2 2 0 0 9
Wasps 2 1 1 0 7
Toulouse 2 0 1 1 3
Zebre 1 0 0 1 0
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Saracens 2 2 0 0 9
Toulon 2 1 0 1 4
Scarlets 2 1 0 1 4
Sale Sharks 2 0 0 2 0
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 2 1 0 1 6
Castres 2 1 0 1 5
Montpellier 2 1 0 1 5
Northampton Saints 2 1 0 1 4
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Clermont Auvergne 2 2 0 0 10
Bordeaux 2 1 0 1 5
Ulster 2 1 0 1 4
Exeter Chiefs 2 0 0 2 1