Best back seven weeks after arm injury


Best back seven weeks after arm injury

A fit again Best is joined in the pack by skipper Johann Muller who came through a strenuous test on a troublesome calf muscle after missing the last two games. The back-line as the same that faced Munster last week with wing Andrew Trimble making a record 58th European appearance for the province.

However, it will be seen as a miraculous return for Best who broke his arm during that agonising defeat against New Zealand seven weeks ago. After discussion with the medical backroom staff, coach Mark Anscombe decided to name the 31-year-old international for the important European battle against a French side who travel with a so-called weakened line-up.

“I knew that it was going to be a tight ask to get back for these games” said Best. “But it is testament to the medical team that we have here with Michael Eames the surgeon, and the strength and conditioning coaches at Ulster that I am back.

“I have been fortunate that there have been no setbacks along the way and it has just been a case of trying to push on. Thankfully I have come through.”

Anscombe knows if Ulster do not front up to their responsibilities then next week’s big clash at Welford Road will be extremely daunting.

“There is a job to be done against Montpellier,” said a wary Anscombe. “We have to make sure we do it. We must win, end of story.

“Look, Montpellier still pose quite a threat. That’s it in a nutshell. We know what we need to do, we have had a good couple of meetings about things we need to address and the boys are in a good frame of mind and we need to make sure we take that on to the park and do the work we need to.”

However Anscombe claimed last week’s win over Munster was very necessary in the build-up.

“The Munster win was very crucial for us. We had a very poor performance against Leinster the week before and if we had backed that up with another sub-standard performance then you start second guessing yourself. Then you go into your shell a bit.

“What we did was express ourselves in a lot of ways, using the ball, slowing it down defensively, and that gives the guys confidence taking them into a big games. You do not want self doubt or lack of assurance in yourself or those around you in big games.”

Meanwhile, Stephen Ferris and Declan Fitzpatrick have agreed new contracts.

Ferris signed a short-term extension to enable him to continue his rehabilitation from the injury he sustained against Edinburgh in November 2012.

ULSTER: J Payne, A Trimble; D Cave, L Marshall, C Gilroy, P Jackson, R Pienaar; T Court, R Best, J Afoa, J Muller, capt, D Tuohy, R Diack, C Henry, N Williams.

Replacements: R Herring, C Black, D Fitzpatrick, I Henderson, R Wilson, S Doyle, P Marshall, M Allen.

MONTPELLIER: A Floch; Y Artru, A Tuitavke, T Combezou, L Dupont; E Selponi, E Escande; N Leleimalefaga, C Geli (c), M Bustos, M Demarco, R Tchale Watchou, K Galletier, A Bias, J Beattie.

Replacements: T Bianchin, M Nariashvili, P Fa’anunu, M Ivaldi, F Quercy, B Paillaugue, P Berard, T Nagusa.

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