Match Page 2017-18 - Scoreboard WP ID: 132

Match Page 2017-18 - Last Time WP ID: 133

Match Page 2017-18 - Current Standing WP: 134

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Match Page 2017-18 - Last 3 Matches WP: 142

Match Page 2017-18 - Season so Far WP:141

Preview: Edinburgh v Ulster

Andy Baber 5 Apr 2018

Edinburgh welcome Ulster to BT Murrayfield in the return of the Guinness PRO14 on Friday night after losing out to Cardiff Blues in the European Challenge Cup.

There is plenty to play for going into the final stages of the season, with the hosts holding on to third and a qualification spot for the Final Series, while Ulster are 13 points behind in fourth in Conference B.

What’s at stake?

Edinburgh are in touching distance of securing a place in the Guinness PRO14 Final Series for the first time in the club’s history.

Victory against Ulster – who have a game in hand against Glasgow Warriors – in the Scottish capital would go a long way to deciding the final standings in Conference B.

The hosts have won their last five games in a row in the Guinness PRO14 and they could still chase down Scarlets and Leinster above them if they finish strongly.

On the other hand, a win for Ulster would keep their chances of reaching the Final Series alive, but they would need a drastic Edinburgh collapse to do so.

Team news (Edinburgh)

Edinburgh have made six changes to the side that started the defeat to Cardiff in Europe, including the inclusion Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and Duncan Weir in the half-back pairing.

An unchanged back-three sees Blair Kinghorn named at full-back alongside wingers Duhan van der Merwe and Dougie Fife, while Mark Bennett is joined by centre Phil Burleigh in midfield for his first start since January.

The inclusion of tighthead prop Simon Berghan is the only alteration to an otherwise unchanged front row, as Stuart McInally and Jordan Lay keep their places upfront.

Ben Toolis returns to the starting XV to partner Grant Gilchrist in the second row, while Jamie Ritchie is named in the back-row alongside Magnus Bradbury and Bill Mata.

Team news (Ulster)

Academy prop Tom O’Toole will make his senior debut alongside returning captain Rory Best in the front row, with Andy Warwick selected at loosehead.

In the second row, O’Toole’s academy team-mate Matthew Dalton will make his seventh appearance of the season, as he is paired with Iain Henderson in the engine room.

Matthew Rea and Nick Timoney start at blindside and openside respectively, with Jean Deysel at No.8, while John Cooney and Johnny McPhillips continue their half-back partnership.

Darren Cave is named at outside centre, where he will be joined by Stuart McCloskey. Jacob Stockdale and Louis Ludik start on the wings, with Charles Piutau at full-back.

Talking points

“We need to play as well as we can tomorrow night and do what we’ve done well up to this point,” said Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill.

“We’ve never qualified for the Guinness PRO14 Final Series, so we have a little bit of pressure on ourselves to get that right, so we can prove that we are capable of that.

“We’ve got to learn what that feels like and how to cope with that. The best way to do that is to experience it.

“There is no doubt that we are capable of winning these games. We just need to get it right and go back to our basics around both our physicality and mentality.”

Key battle – Stuart McInally v Rory Best

The two hookers will go face to face again after Ireland beat Scotland in the 2018 Six Nations to claim the title, with McInally looking for revenge against his fellow captain.

Key stat: Despite being a place behind in Conference B, Ulster have scored more points (434 to 398), more tries (56 to 49) and gained more metres (7,767 to 6,755) than Edinburgh.

Did you know? Edinburgh have not lost in the Guinness PRO14 in 2018, with their last defeat coming against Conference A leaders Glasgow Warriors back in December.

Edinburgh: Blair Kinghorn, Dougie Fife, Mark Bennett, Phil Burleigh, Duhan van der Merwe, Duncan Weir, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Jordan Lay, Stuart McInally (C), Simon Berghan, Ben Toolis, Grant Gilchrist, Magnus Bradbury, Jamie Ritchie, Bill Mata

Replacements: Neil Cochrane, Rory Sutherland, WP Nel, Lewis Carmichael, Cornell du Preez, Sean Kennedy, Jaco van der Walt, Chris Dean

Ulster: Charles Piutau, Louis Ludik; Darren Cave, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale; Johnny McPhillips, John Cooney; Andy Warwick, Rory Best (C), Tom O’Toole, Matthew Dalton, Iain Henderson, Matthew Rea, Nick Timoney, Jean Deysel

Replacements: Rob Herring, Tommy O’Hagan, Rodney Ah You, Alan O’Connor, Sean Reidy, David Shanahan, Angus Curtis, Tommy Bowe

Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU)

AR1: Wayne Davies (WRU) AR2: David Sutherland (SRU)

TMO: Sean Brickell (WRU)

TV: BBC ALBA, BBC2 NI

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Prices start at just €35 at www.ticketmaster.ie with tickets available to suit every experience.
To book hospitality visit: https://www.pro14rugby.org/hospitality
For Travel packages visit: https://www.pro14rugby.org/travel-packages
For Fanzone & Dublin 7s visit: http://www.dublin7sfestival.ie

Historical Lineup Pre Opta (sfms data) - Preview - v2

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups WP: 135

Match Page 2017-18 - Match Data WP: 140

Match Page 2017-18 - Timeline WP:139

Henderson late show seals crucial bonus-point win for Ulster

Rich Dore 6 Apr 2018

Iain Henderson’s powerful late score was enough to secure Ulster Rugby a crucial bonus-point win away at Edinburgh Rugby and boost their chances of making the Guinness PRO14 Final Series.

Duncan Weir kicked in-form Edinburgh ahead in the first half but Ulster soon responded with scores for Darren Cave, Charles Piutau and John Cooney.

Weir responded with a breakaway try but the home side trailed at the break and never got back on even terms.

The Scottish side did get a second-half penalty try but Henderson’s late effort was enough to bring Ulster within eight points of third-placed Edinburgh in the Conference B table.

The home side struck first in the match after Rory Best had been penalised at the breakdown, with Weir kicking a simple three-pointer.

But Ulster soon fired into gear and scored a superb try on 13 minutes, with full-back Piutau offloading out wide to Jacob Stockdale who passed back inside to Cave for the score.

Cooney added the extras and Weir kicked another penalty before Ulster went over for their second try, with Cave finding space on the overlap and passing on for Piutau to crash through any remaining defence.

Richard Cockerill’s men should’ve heeded the warnings but didn’t, with Ulster’s third try showing similarities to their second, this time Stockdale on the outside break and passing inside to Cooney.

Weir decided to intervene in Ulster’s enjoyable opening to the game though and at the next lineout gambled on an intercept – a gamble which paid off and left him with an unopposed run to the sticks.

Ulster led 19-13 at the break and soon extended that lead by three points on 51 minutes when Cooney struck once more.

Edinburgh’s pack got the home side back in it though, with a spell of concerted pressure inside the Ulster 22 eventually resulting in a penalty try.

Cooney once again edged the visitors further ahead minutes later, with the lead at 25-20 with 15 minutes left to play.

Edinburgh have been in superb form of late, their only defeat in the last nine rounds coming at Glasgow on 30 December, and there was plenty of effort and endeavour in the final 10 minutes.

Weir attempted a cross-field kick late on but it somehow found its way to Stockdale, who fed McCloskey, but the centre’s last-ditch offload fell to ground.

There was still time though for Ulster to get the crucial bonus-point score, as a series of drives towards the Edinburgh line eventually saw Henderson power over.

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Prices start at just €35 at www.ticketmaster.ie with tickets available to suit every experience.
To book hospitality visit: https://www.pro14rugby.org/hospitality
For Travel packages visit: https://www.pro14rugby.org/travel-packages
For Fanzone & Dublin 7s visithttp://www.dublin7sfestival.ie

Match Page 2017-18 - Summary WP:137

Match Page 2017-18 - Match Data WP: 140

Match Page 2017-18 - Timeline WP:139

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups WP: 135

Match Page 2017-18 - Performance WP:138