Ulster to monitor Payne ahead of Castres challenge

Despite nursing a groin strain full-back Jared Payne has been included in Ulster’s 26-man squad for the province’s final Heineken Cup pool match against Castres Olympique on Saturday (1.35pm Irish time).

Ulster to monitor Payne ahead of Castres challenge

Despite nursing a groin strain full-back Jared Payne has been included in Ulster’s 26-man squad for the province’s final Heineken Cup pool match against Castres Olympique on Saturday (1.35pm Irish time).

The Ulster management will monitor the injury, which has been an ongoing complaint for the New Zealander, before deciding if he will feature at the weekend.

Ulster have already secured a spot in the quarter-finals of the competition, but Saturday’s game in France, combined with results in other pools will determine if they will have a home or away match.

It was confirmed yesterday that Number 8, Nick Williams, sustained a knee injury in the win over Glasgow last Friday night and will be on the sidelines for up to eight weeks.

The province has never won a Heineken Cup game in France, but did record a victory on French soil in a pre-season friendly in August with a 20-15 win over Bayonne.

Mark Anscombe’s team will face a formidable challenge in Castres Olympique who have won three of their past four home matches in the competition.

Ulster beat Castres 41-17 in their opening Heineken Cup Pool 4 game at Ravenhill in October.

Provisional Ulster squad (v. Castres):

Forwards (14): Rory Best, Callum Black, John Afoa, Nigel Brady, Mike McComish, Lewis Stevenson, Declan Fitzpatrick, Roger Wilson, Neil McComb, Iain Henderson, Tom Court, Chris Henry, Robbie Diack, Rob Herring.

Backs (12): Paddy Wallace, Niall O’Connor, Ruan Pienaar, Craig Gilroy, Paddy Jackson, Chris Cochrane, Paul Marshall, Andrew Trimble, Michael Heaney, Jared Payne, Darren Cave, Michael Allen.

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