Dan McFarland has made seven changes for Ulster’s final game of the season as they take on Edinburgh at Murrayfield tomorrow evening.
It will be the final time we will see Kyle McCall and Adam McBurney in the white shirt as they are set to start together in the front row. Nothing has been confirmed about the futures of Alby Mathewson and Matt Faddes but it appears that they will depart at the end of the season as no contract renewals have been announced.
Alby is listed on the bench while Faddes will start on the right wing. All bar Mathewson have spent considerable time outside the matchday 23 with McCall’s last game coming against Connacht at Christmas while McBurney and Faddes’ last appearances were in March and February respectively.
Alan O’Connor, Marcus Rea, Ian Madigan and Rob Lyttle are the other changes to the starting 15.
Edinburgh’s Lions, Duhan van der Merwe and Hamish Watson, both feature in the starting 15 while Blair Kinghorn slots in at out half instead of his usual fullback position. Scottish internationals Pierre Schoeman, Simon Berghan and Henry Pyrgos are listed on the bench.
Ulster have a very good record against Edinburgh in recent years, winning all five of their last meetings. The last defeat came in February 2018 when a Duncan Weir drop goal sealed Edinburgh’s first victory in Belfast since September 2009.
|6 APR 18||PRO14||Murrayfield||Nigel Owens||32 (19)||20 (13)|
|7 SEP 18||PRO14||Ravenhill||Stuart Berry||30 (6)||29 (16)|
|12 APR 19||PRO14||Murrayfield||Nigel Owens||29 (15)||7 (0)|
|5 SEP 20||PRO14||Murrayfield||Frank Murphy||22 (0)||19 (5)|
|30 NOV 20||PRO14||Murrayfield||Craig Evans||43 (19)||14 (7)|
Like Ulster, Edinburgh are out of the running for the Rainbow Cup with just five points from their three matches with their only win coming in the opening round against Zebre. The Scottish side had a disappointing PRO14 campaign, winning just five games against Scarlets, Cardiff Blues, Glasgow, Zebre and Connacht.
The previous meeting was a one-sided affair in favour of the Belfast side which saw John Andrew score a hat trick, a John Cooney double as well as tries from Stewart Moore and Jordi Murphy.
The man in the middle
Ben Whitehouse takes charge of his 74th competition game tomorrow night at Murrayfield. In his nine Ulster matches, the northern province are undefeated, winning seven and drawing two.
|1 OCT 16||PRO12||Ospreys||Ravenhill||9 (3)||7 (7)|
|13 OCT 17||Champions Cup||Wasps||Ravenhill||19 (3)||9 (6)|
|28 APR 18||PRO14||Munster||Thomond Park||24 (24)||24 (14)|
|21 SEP 18||PRO14||Cheetahs||Toyota Stadium||39 (14)||39 (17)|
|16 NOV 20||PRO14||Zebre||Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi||57 (26)||14 (7)|
|Harry Paterson||15||Rob Lyttle|
|Eroni Sau||14||Matt Faddes|
|James Johnstone||13||James Hume|
|George Taylor||12||Stuart McCloskey|
|Duhan van der Merwe||11||Craig Gilroy|
|Blair Kinghorn||10||Ian Madigan|
|Charlie Shiel||9||David Shanahan|
|Boan Venter||1||Kyle McCall|
|Patrick Harrison||2||Adam McBurney|
|WP Nel||3||Marty Moore|
|Marshall Sykes||4||Alan O’Connor|
|Ben Toolis||5||Iain Henderson (C)|
|Jamie Ritchie (C)||6||Matty Rea|
|Hamish Watson||7||Marcus Rea|
|Ben Muncaster||8||Nick Timoney|
|Mike Willemse||16||Rob Herring|
|Pierre Schoeman||17||Andrew Warwick|
|Simon Berghan||18||Tom O’Toole|
|Mesu Kunavula||19||Kieran Treadwell|
|Harri Morris||20||Greg Jones|
|Henry Pyrgos||21||Alby Mathewson|
|Nathan Chamberlain||22||Billy Burns|
|Cammy Hutchison||23||Michael Lowry|
The FRU predicts: Ulster ran away with the last game between the sides and although they’ve enjoyed some good fortune in the Scottish capital in recent years, I think this will be a match where they come out second best.