Ulster eagerly await French test


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The Independent Online

Last season's runners-up, Ulster kick off their Heineken Cup campaign from the comfort of home tonight. The province are unbeaten in 11 successive matches in the competition at Ravenhill, stretching back to Stade Français' visit in October 2008.

Castres, the visitors for a Pool 4 contest, have won just once in 17 away Heineken Cup games. And Ulster have flown out of the blocks in the Pro12 this season, winning five out of five under new head coach, Mark Anscombe.

Meanwhile, former England flanker Andy Hazell was sent off for aiming a flurry of punches at an opponent on the floor and using his knee as Gloucester launched their Amlin Challenge Cup campaign with an ill-tempered 11-6 victory at French Top 14 side Mont-de-Marsan last night.