Strong Ulster side to face Edinburgh

The province are hopeful to rebound after defeat to Italian side Zebre last weekend

Andrew Trimble returns to the Ulster backline for their  Pro12 clash against Edinburgh at Ravenhill. Photograph: Inpho.

Andrew Trimble returns to the Ulster backline for their Pro12 clash against Edinburgh at Ravenhill. Photograph: Inpho.

 

Ulster have almost completely revised their team for the visit of Edinburgh with outside centre Jared Payne one of 10 personnel changes to the side. Losing to Zebre last week had ensured some sort of freshening up.

Because of last week’s Italian crash Ulster will be wary about this one, although the Scottish side beat Munster in the first game of the campaign in Thomond Park, they went on to lose to Connacht, get tonked 62-13 by Ospreys and draw with Scarlets last week. Patchy could describe their form.

Louis Ludik, Andrew Trimble, Payne and Paul Marshall all come into the backline, with Tommy Bowe switching to the left wing. Loosehead Ruaidhri Murphy starts his first competitive match for Ulster, as does lock Alan O’Connor.

Returns to side

Robbie Diack returns at six, Chris Henry comes in at openside and Roger Wilson switches to number eight.

Edinburgh, despite their Limerick win, have not won in Belfast since 2009. They’ve made four changes for the Ravenhill trip with captain and blindside flanker Mike Coman leading the side out for the first time this season.

On paper Ulster have too many key players in the side to let this one slip. They also have attack options with internationals Darren Cave and Stuart Olding on the bench.

Their problems in the secondrow with Dan Tuohy and Ian Henderson long-term casualties are well documented but the backrow is abrasive, something former Ulster coach Alan Solomons will know only too well.

“We’re facing a full-strength Ulster team, who will be smarting after their loss to Zebre last weekend and will be going all out to redress the defeat,” said Edinburgh’s coach.

Edinburgh are ninth on the table to Ulster’s third but defeat could see the Irish side tumble down a number of places, should they implode. That’s unlikely. Best, Bowe, Trimble, Jackson and Henry won’t allow it.

It may not be Ulster’s strongest team as Solomons says but it is good enough to put this one to bed and hold on to their top-four position.

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