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Magners Preview: Edinburgh v Ulster

Magners Preview: Edinburgh v Ulster

Edinburgh Gunners will be hoping to make it a two-in-a-row against Irish opposition at Murrayfield, but Ulster are unbeaten in 12 league games – a run which stretches back to January.

…Rory Best will captain Ulster for the first time against Edinburgh…

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Edinburgh Gunners will be hoping to make it a two-in-a-row against Irish opposition at Murrayfield, but Ulster are unbeaten in 12 league games – a run which stretches back to January.

MAGNERS LEAGUE: Friday, September 15

EDINBURGH GUNNERS v ULSTER, Murrayfield, 7.30pm

**IrishRugby.ie will be supplying live score updates from Murrayfield**

Team News: Edinburgh have handed Ben Cairns the number 11 jersey for their third round Magners League clash with Ulster.

Cairns, who was in the starting XV for the pre-season friendlies against Leeds Tykes and Sale Sharks, is a first year professional and he replaces Simon Webster who was injured in last week’s 20-14 victory over Leinster.

In other changes, Canadian international Mike Pyke takes his place amongst the replacements, while, in the front row, Alasdair Dickinson comes in for Craig Smith with Dave Hewett on the bench.

Ulster coach Mark McCall has made five changes to his side from last weekend’s 32-25 defeat of the Dragons at Rodney Parade.

The only change in the back line sees Isaac Boss return at scrum half, while up front his Ireland colleagues Rory Best and Bryan Young also come off Ireland’s pre-season conditioning programme to take their places in the front row.

Stand-in captain Justin Harrison is ruled out with a calf injury so lock Matt McCullough will make his first start of the season, partnering Tim Barker in the second row. Hooker Best will deputise as captain. Kieron Dawson has also been selected ahead of Neil McMillan in the back row.

EDINBURGH: Hugo Southwell; Chris Paterson (capt), Marcus Di Rollo, Rob Dewey, Ben Cairns; Phil Godman, Mike Blair; Allan Jacobsen, Dougie Hall, Alasdair Dickinson, Matt Mustchin, Scott Murray, Alasdair Strokosch, Allister Hogg, Ross Rennie.

Replacements: Andrew Kelly, Dave Hewett, Fergus Pringle, David Callam, Greig Laidlaw, Duncan Hodge, Mike Pyke.

ULSTER: Bryn Cunningham; Mark Bartholomeusz, Paul Steinmetz, Paddy Wallace, Andrew Maxwell; David Humphreys, Isaac Boss; Justin Fitzpatrick, Rory Best (capt), Bryan Young, Tim Barker, Matt McCullough, Stephen Ferris, Kieron Dawson, Roger Wilson.

Replacements: Paul Shields, Tom Court, Lewis Stevenson, Neil McMillan, Kieran Campbell, Kevin Maggs, Scott Young.

Referee: Hugh Watkins (Wales)
Touch Judges: Rob Dickson, Gary Duncan (both Scotland)

Coack Speak: Henry Edwards (Interim coach, Edinburgh) – “We’re looking forward to building on last week’s win against Leinster. We’re well aware of the type of game Ulster try to play and as last season’s champions, the threat they’ll pose.

“As always, we’ll be trying to raise the bar from last week. There were areas we needed to improve on and we’ve worked hard this week to address these issues. This is a good opportunity for us, given that Ulster have had the upper hand over the last few years, to get a second win and points in the bag.”

Mark McCall (Ulster) – “The selection this week is not a form one. We knew the date that Rory Best, Bryan Young and Isaac Boss would be released back to us and obviously knew they would be ready for this game.

“Paul Shields, Tom Court and Kieran Campbell have laid a marker down with their performances in the first two weeks of the campaign. And from now onwards, it becomes a form selection in those areas.

“It was not our intention to penalise Ireland players had they been available for week one of the league, they would have been picked.”


September 2002 – Ulster 18 Edinburgh 19, Ravenhill
October 2003 – Edinburgh 3 Ulster 41, Meadowbank
March 2004 – Ulster 37 Edinburgh 0, Ravenhill
September 2004 – Edinburgh 16 Ulster 17, Murrayfield
December 2004 – Ulster 36 Edinburgh 34, Ravenhill
September 2005 – Ulster 30 Edinburgh 23, Ravenhill
February 2006 – Ulster 31 Edinburgh 23, Murrayfield


– It was a returning to winning ways for Edinburgh last weekend, following back-to-back losses, with a 20-14 victory over Leinster at Murrayfield

– Ulster’s 32-25 win at the Dragons last Saturday set a new league record for the longest spell without a defeat. The province are now unbeaten in 12 games, since they lost to Connacht on New Year’s Eve

– Ulster have won their last 12 matches against Scottish opposition. Their last defeat to a Scottish came against Glasgow (34-20) in October 2004

– In ten previous encounters – in all competitions – Edinburgh have beaten Ulster just once: 19-18 in the league at Ravenhill in September 2002

– Ireland ‘A’ winger Andrew Maxwell has scored three tries in Ulster’s last four games against Edinburgh, including a brace on their last visit to Murrayfield in February.

Retired centre Ryan Constable, who is now a player agent, grabbed a hat trick of tries in Ulster’s 41-3 demolition of the Scots at Meadowbank in October 2003