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Ulster to play La Rochelle in Dublin behind closed doors


Ulster will play La Rochelle at a Dublin venue today after the playing surface at Kinsgpan Stadium in Belfast was deemed to be unsafe.

Efforts to make the pitch safe to play on during the week at Ulster’s home of Kingspan Stadium have been unsuccessful, as the freezing conditions in Belfast have forced the game to be moved.

The match is still set to be played today at 5.30pm at a yet to be confirmed Dublin venue, although supporters will not be permitted to attend due to issues with logistics.

BT Sport 1 will be airing the match live, with coverage set to begin at 5.15pm while kick off is at 5.30pm, while viewers outside of Ireland and Britain can watch the game on beIN Sports, France TV, SuperSport and FloRugby.

Ulster will communicate with ticket holders for the game in regards to refunds next week.

A blow to the Ulstermen’s chances.

Ulster already face an uphill battle to qualify for the last 16 of the Heineken Champions Cup after suffering a dismal 39-0 defeat against Sale Sharks last weekend.

The province would have hoped that a home crowd in Belfast would give them a boost against reigning champions La Rochelle, but Ulster must now pull off an upset victory in front of empty stands.

La Rochelle were very impressive in a 46-12 rout of Northampton Saints last weekend, and they will be aiming for another bonus-point victory to keep them near the summit of Pool B.

Ulster find themselves at the bottom of Pool B after their humbling at the hands of Sale, although they will know that they only have to finish eighth from 12 teams to progress to the knock out stages.

Several teams reached the last 16 after winning just one of their four pool stage matches last season, although a loss today would put Ulster very much on the back foot.

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