Match Page 2017-18 - Scoreboard WP ID: 132

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Preview: Ulster vs Edinburgh Rugby

Charlie Peat 15 Feb 2018

Edinburgh Rugby head to Ulster on Friday, with the Scottish side look to build on two successive league victories and leapfrog their opponents in the Conference B standings.

Ulster picked up a morale-boosting triumph over the Southern Kings in Round 14 and will be hoping to replicate last season’s 24-18 triumph over Edinburgh at the Kingspan.

What’s at stake?

With just three points separating Ulster in third and Edinburgh in fourth in the Conference B standings, Friday’s game will be another hugely important clash as both sides aim to book a place in the play-offs.

Ulster produced a magical comeback against Munster at the start of 2018 and will be looking to draw on that performance in another massive clash.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh are ticking along nicely since the turn of the year and a victory in Belfast would add further belief to their play-off charge.

Team news (Ulster): Head coach Jono Gibbs has made four alterations following his side’s 59-10 triumph over the Southern Kings.

Louis Ludik, Tommy Bowe and Jean Deysel replace the injured Charles Piutau, Rob Lyttle and Sean Reidy, while Rob Herring is released from Ireland duty to start at hooker.

Elsewhere, David Busby could make his first league appearance of the season if called upon from the replacements bench.

Team news (Edinburgh): Edinburgh have made five changes from the side that started in their 29-24 victory over Leinster as Edinburgh go in search of 15th win of the season in all competitions.

Wing Jason Harries starts his first league match since Round Four while Sam Hidalgo-Clyne also returns to the starting XV to link up with Jaco van der Walt at half-back.

Cornell du Preez is welcomed back into the side from Scotland duty whilst John Hardie returns to the fray to partner Bill Mata in the back-row.

Neil Cochrane replaces Cameron Fenton in the only other change to Richard Cockerill’s side.

Talking points:

Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill said: “They have a good team and very strong squad, and they’ve had their difficulties for obvious reasons, but now it’s for us to go there and front up.

“If we lose on Friday night, it’s not the end of our play-off hopes. For us, it’s nice, as a team, that were putting ourselves in the position where we’re actually competing for play-offs, which is a step forward.

“I expect Ulster to be favourites and I expect them to be confident but I’m also confident and I believe in our playing group.”

Ulster hooker John Andrew admits that the showdown against Edinburgh could prove crucial to his side’s season.
He said: “We’re sitting third in our conference, so we know every game is a must-win for us.

“All the top sides have to play each other but we’re just taking it one week at a time.

“Our sole focus is Edinburgh and then we’ll look towards the next game and see where that leads us.”

Key battle – Craig Gilroy vs Jason Harries

We could be set for an enthralling encounter at the Kingspan on Friday and these two wingers could play a key role.

Gilroy was the star of the show against the Kings, dotting down three times and beating nine defenders during the contest in Belfast.

But his opposite number Jason Harries has plenty to prove for Edinburgh.
The 29-year-old wing is making his first league start for Richard Cockerill’s side since Round Four, when he dotted down in a 28-8 defeat against Scarlets.

If Harries can hit the ground running, then Edinburgh could be the first Scottish side to win in Belfast since September 2013.

Key stat
Viliame Mata made a thunderous 21 tackles in Edinburgh’s impressive victory over Leinster in Round 14, no player across the Guinness PRO14 produced more.

Did you know?
Ulster’s only defeat in Belfast in the PRO14 since October 2016 was to Leinster in Round 7 this season.

Ulster: Louis Ludik, Craig Gilroy, Luke Marshall, Stuart McCloskey, Tommy Bowe, Johnny McPhillips, John Cooney, Andy Warwick, Rob Herring, Wiehahn Herbst, Alan O’Connor (C), Kieran Treadwell, Matty Rea, Nick Timoney, Jean Deysel

Replacements: John Andrew, Kyle McCall, Rodney Ah You, Matthew Dalton, Chris Henry, Jonny Stewart, Darren Cave, David Busby.

Edinburgh: Dougie Fife, Jason Harries, Mark Bennett, Chris Dean, Duhan van der Merwe, Jaco van der Walt, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Jordan Lay, Neil Cochrane, Murray McCallum, Fraser McKenzie (C), Lewis Carmichael, Viliame Mata, John Hardie, Cornell Du Preez

Replacements: Cameron Fenton, Rory Sutherland, Elliot Mills, Magnus Bradbury, Luke Crosbie, Nathan Fowles, Duncan Weir, Glenn Bryce

Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU)

AR1: Andrew Brace (IRFU) AR2: Adam Jones (WRU)

TMO: Jon Mason (WRU)

TV: BBC2 NI (Coverage begins at 19:30 GMT)

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Ticket prices start at just €35 for adults and €10 for children, and can be booked via

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

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Last-minute Weir drop goal gives Edinburgh win over Ulster

Andrew Lawton 16 Feb 2018

Duncan Weir struck a last-minute drop goal to kick Edinburgh Rugby to a dramatic 17-16 victory over Ulster and move them up to third in Conference B.

John Cooney and Jason Harries exchanged tries in the opening half before two penalties for the Ulster scrum-half put them 13-7 ahead.

Lewis Carmichael went over for the visitors on 63 minutes but another three points for Cooney had Ulster back in front.

But with the clock ticking past the 80-minute mark Weir held his nerve to snatch victory with the final kick of the game.

Ulster opened the scoring as Nick Timoney capitalises on an overlap with an outside break before offloading to Louis Ludik who fed Cooney to run through and dot down under the posts.

Bill Mata twice went close as Edinburgh fought to get back in the game, the flanker was on the end of a training ground move at the line-out but was forced into touch as he went for the line.

And the Fijian was millimetres away just minutes later as he burst towards the line from close range only to fumble the ball as he reached for the whitewash.

Referee Nigel Owens consulted with the TMO before awarding Ulster the scrum for the knock on but Edinburgh would be level at the break.

From a scrum inside their own half, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne spotted a gap to race clear and put in an inch-perfect grubber for Harries to dive onto for Edinburgh’s first try.

Hidalgo-Clyne successfully converted the try he had made as the sides went into half-time at 7-7.

Cooney restored Ulster’s advantage as he was on target with an early penalty in the second half as Edinburgh were penalised for being offside.

And the scrum-half made no mistake soon after with a further three points to give Ulster a six-point cushion heading into the final 20 minutes.

Carmichael then cut an excellent line and took a lovely inside ball from Fraser McKenzie for Edinburgh’s second score to put the visitors ahead for the first time in the match.

Scrum-half Cooney’s third penalty had Ulster back ahead on 67 minutes.

Edinburgh were held up over the tryline in the final minute but after just one phase at the resulting scrum, the ball was sent back to Weir who calmly slotted the winning drop goal.

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Ticket prices start at just €35 for adults and €10 for children, and can be booked via

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