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McCloskey starts as Ulster face make or break trip to Ospreys

Chris Henry and Jared Payne remain injured as the northern province attempt to snatch the fourth play-off place out of Ospreys’ claws.

ULSTER DIRECTOR OF rugby Les Kiss has named Stuart McCloskey in the centre for tomorrow’s crunch Pro12 meeting against fourth-place Ospreys in the Liberty Stadium [Sky Sports, 3pm].

Steve Tandy’s side currently occupy the fourth and final play-off place, but hold just a one-point lead over the northern province. So the winner of tomorrow’s match will take a vital grip on a semi-final place before the final round of matches see Ulster host Leinster while Ospreys travel to Scarlets.

McCloskey is one of three changes to the side that fell to Munster last time out, he takes over from Stuart Olding as Luke Marshall’s midfield partner. Jacob Stockdale makes way from fullback as Craig Gilroy starts and Robbie Diack fills in for the injured Chris Henry in the back row.

Ospreys

15 Dan Evans
14 Keelan Giles
13 Kieron Fonotia
12 Ashley Beck
11 Tom Habberfield
10 Dan Biggar
9 Rhys Webb Capt

1 Nicky Smith
2 Scott Baldwin
3 Brian Mujati
4 Bradley Davies
5 Tyler Ardron
6 Sam Underhill
7 Justin Tipuric
8 James King

Replacements 

16 Scott Otten
17 Paul James
18 Rhodri Jones
19 Lloyd Ashley
20 Dan Baker
21 Brendon Leonard
22 Sam Davies
23 Josh Matavesi

Ulster

15. Craig Gilroy
14. Andrew Trimble Capt
13. Luke Marshall
12. Stuart McCloskey
11. Charles Piutau
10. Paddy Jackson
9. Ruan Pienaar

1. Andy Warwick
2. Rory Best
3. Wiehahn Herbst
4. Kieran Treadwell
5. Alan O’Connor
6. Iain Henderson
7. Sean Reidy
8. Robbie Diack

Replacements

16. Rob Herring
17. Callum Black
18. Rodney Ah You
19. Franco van der Merwe
20. Nick Timoney
21. Paul Marshall
22. Stuart Olding
23. Jacob Stockdale

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