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Ulster Make Seven Changes For Edinburgh Encounter

Ulster Make Seven Changes For Edinburgh Encounter

Out-half Ian Madigan is pictured in action for Ulster against his native Leinster in the Rainbow Cup ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Ulster head coach Dan McFarland has made seven changes for Saturday’s final Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup game against Edinburgh at BT Murrayfield (kick-off 5.15pm).

For the province’s season finale, Rob Lyttle and Matt Faddes come into the back-three at full-back and on the right wing, while Craig Gilroy is retained on the left.

James Hume and Stuart McCloskey team up together in midfield, and Ian Madigan is drafted in at half-back alongside David Shanahan.

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In the pack, Martin Moore is joined in the front row by Kyle McCall and hooker Adam McBurney, with Alan O’Connor packing down with captain Iain Henderson at lock.

Brothers Matthew and Marcus Rea fill the blindside and openside berths respectively, and Nick Timoney completes the starting XV at number 8.

Rob Herring, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell and Greg Jones will offer forward cover from the bench, and Alby Mathewson, Billy Burns and Michael Lowry are the replacement backs.

As well as the four Ulster squad members who tested positive for Covid-19 last week, McFarland is without the injured John Cooney (neck), Luke Marshall (knee), Jack McGrath (hip), Eric O’Sullivan (shoulder), Jacob Stockdale (shoulder), Ethan McIlroy (hip) and Cormac Izuchukwu (knee).

Following on from the Covid-enforced cancellation of their game against the Scarlets, McFarland said: “We’re out of the competition, Edinburgh are out of the competition, and it’s not a competition we fell in love with.

“(But) I’m more interested in seeing how well the guys on the field go. What kind of performance can they put in? What kind of a statement can they make going into the off-season?

“It was disappointing not playing against the Scarlets because against Leinster, albeit we lost, we played some really good rugby.

“We were looking forward to backing that up but now we’ve had a little bit of a break, the team will change around a bit and guys will get the opportunity to put their hands up.”

ULSTER (v Edinburgh): Rob Lyttle; Matt Faddes, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Craig Gilroy; Ian Madigan, David Shanahan; Kyle McCall, Adam McBurney, Martin Moore, Alan O’Connor, Iain Henderson (capt), Matthew Rea, Marcus Rea, Nick Timoney.

Replacements: Rob Herring, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Greg Jones, Alby Mathewson, Billy Burns, Michael Lowry.