Preview: Edinburgh v Ulster

Date published: November 3 2016

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Acting head coach Duncan Hodge has made five changes to his Edinburgh starting side to face Ulster in their PRO12 clash at Murrayfield.

All of the changes for Friday come in the forward pack, with Hodge refreshing the front-row and making two alterations in the back-five.

Neil Cochrane is named as captain and starts at hooker, with young props Jack Cosgrove and Murray McCallum set to join him in the front-row.

With Grant Gilchrist and John Hardie retained by the Scotland squad, Fraser McKenzie and Jamie Ritchie are named to start at lock and back-row respectively.

Scotland internationalist Duncan Weir is named as a replacement after recovering from a fractured jaw sustained against Munster in round four of the competition, with newly-signed prop Kyle Whyte set to debut if called upon from the bench.

"As a group we were very disappointed with the result and performance last week and we see tomorrow’s game as an opportunity to bounce back and make amends," said Hodge.

"We’ve taken the result on the chin, learned from the experience and worked hard in training to put things right ahead of this game.

"We know we’re facing a quality Ulster side packed with good players but we’re looking forward to running out in front of our home crowd and soaking up the challenge ahead."

Meanwhile for Ulster, Brett Herron, Rob Lyttle and Sam Windsor come in to start in their backline, with Pete Browne and Clive Ross joining the pack for the crucial clash against the Scottish side.

Academy player Aaron Cairns could make his senior debut after being named among the replacements.

The front five is unchanged from the one that faced Munster last weekend; Callum Black, Rob Herring and Wiehahn Herbst occupy the front-row spots, while Dan Tuohy and Franco van der Merwe continue in the second-row.

Browne will start in the number six jersey for the first time, with Ross named as the other flanker. Sean Reidy, who signed a three-year contract extension earlier this week, will pack down at number eight.

Ruan Pienaar and Herron are selected in the half-back positions, while Windsor will earn his third cap when he lines out in midfield alongside Luke Marshall.

Lyttle will be joined in the back three by experienced internationals Tommy Bowe and Charles Piutau.

Form: Edinburgh's only win in the last five rounds of PRO12 play was 45-10 at home to Treviso on October 7. The Scotsmen’s record in their last eight matches at Murrayfield in all tournaments is an even won four, lost four, whilst they have not beaten an Irish province anywhere since October 2015. Ulster began their 2016/17 PRO12 campaign with victories in the first five rounds but have now tripped up to fellow Irish provinces Connacht and Munster in rounds 6 and 7. The Ulstermen have won three of their last four encounters with Scottish opponents. Ulster have lost just one of their last six matches against Edinburgh: 10-16 at Murrayfield in this equivalent fixture in round 4 last season.

The teams:

Edinburgh: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Damien Hoyland, 13 Chris Dean, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Tom Brown, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Sean Kennedy, 8 Magnus Bradbury, 7 Jamie Ritchie, 6 Viliame Mata, 5 Ben Toolis, 4 Fraser McKenzie, 3 Murray McCallum, 2 Neil Cochrane (c), 1 Jack Cosgrove
Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Kyle Whyte, 18 Felipe Arregui, 19 Lewis Carmichael, 20 Cornell Du Preez, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Michael Allen

Ulster: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Luke Marshall, 12 Sam Windsor, 11 Rob Lyttle, 10 Brett Herron, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Sean Reidy, 7 Clive Ross, 6 Pete Browne, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Dan Tuohy, 3 Wiehan Herbst, 2 Rob Herring (c), 1 Callum Black
Replacements: 16 John Andrew, 17 Kyle McCall, 18 Andrew Warwick, 19 Robbie Diack, 20 Conor Joyce, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Aaron Cairns, 23 Jacob Stockdale

Date: Friday, November 4 
Venue: BT Murrayfield
Kick-off: 19:35 GMT
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Dudley Phillips (Ireland), Lloyd Linton (Scotland)
TMO: Gareth Simmonds (Wales)

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