Edinburgh vs Ulster Live : Magnus Bradbury has taken over the Edinburgh No 6 jersey from John Barclay for the vital rugby match against Ulster. The capital side are now in the business end of the season, with one more home league match to play before the Guinness PRO14 Finals Series. With just three points separating Ulster in third and Edinburgh in fourth in the Conference B standings.
The one other change among the substitutes sees Allan Dell return as loosehead prop replacement instead of Rory Sutherland. Edinburgh are currently fourth in Conference B on 51 points, three points behind second-placed Ulster.
“We’ve got to win,” head coach Richard Cockerill said. “It’s the same as last week. If we don’t, we’re relying on other results and miracles. We’ve just got to keep winning.
“Although Ulster were beaten by Glasgow, they were extremely good against Leinster the week before and they should have won. They’ve had a tough run-in: they played in Dublin, Glasgow and now they come to us. Despite the 30-7 loss, Ulster remain in the Pro14 play-off places with two regular season games remaining.
“We have put ourselves in the position where we are second in the pool,” said Reidy.
“If we play some good footy, we can get that home quarter-final.”
Ulster boss Dan McFarland has described Friday’s encounter with Edinburgh as a “knockout game” in the race to reach the play-offs.
The Irish province currently hold a two-point lead over third-placed Benetton, with Edinburgh a further point behind.
A second-place finish will be rewarded with home advantage in the quarter-finals. raham; Hoyland, Bennett, Scott, van der Merwe; van der Walt, Pyrgos; Schoeman, McInally (c), WP Nel, Toolis, Gilchrist, Bradbury, Watson, Mata.
Replacements: Ford, Dell, Berghan, Hunter-Hill, Barclay, Shiel, Hickey, G Taylor.
ULSTER: J Stockdale, R Baloucoune, L Marshall, S McCloskey, R Lyttle; B Burns, J Cooney; E O’Sullivan, R Herring, M Moore, I Henderson (c), K Treadwell, N Timoney, J Murphy, M Coetzee.
Replacements: J Andrew, A Warwick, R Kane, A O’Connor, S Reidy, D Shanahan, P Nelson, A Kernohan.
“We’ll put out our best team and we’ll both go as hard as we can to try and win. They’ve got a lot of quality, but we’ve got some pretty good players too.”
Edinburgh (v Ulster at Murrayfield, Friday 7.35pm, live on Premier Sports): Darcy Graham; Damien Hoyland, Mark Bennett, Matt Scott, Duhan van der Merwe; Jaco van der Walt, Henry Pyrgos; Pierre Schoeman, Stuart McInally, WP Nel, Ben Toolis, Grant Gilchrist, Magnus Bradbury, Hamish Watson, Bill Mata. Substitutes: Ross Ford, Allan Dell, Simon Berghan, Callum Hunter-Hill, John Barclay, Charlie Shiel, Simon Hickey, George Taylor.
Ulster: Jacob Stockdale; Robert Baloucoune, Luke Marshall, Stuart McCloskey, Rob Lyttle; Billy Burns, John Cooney; Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Iain Henderson, Kieran Treadwell, Nick Timoney, Jordi Murphy, Marcell Coetzee. Substitutes: John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Ross Kane, Alan O’Connor, Sean Reidy, David Shanahan, Peter Nelson, Angus Kernihan.
To date, Dave Rennie’s team have only qualified for the play-offs but, with just a three-point lead over Munster at the top of Conference A, have yet to secure a home semi-final. They could clinch one this weekend if they win at Leinster and Munster are beaten by Benetton, otherwise the issue will not be decided until the last round of regular-season fixtures at the end of the month, when Edinburgh visit Scotstoun, possibly with a play-off fight of their own still to be settled.
With a series of decisive games coming up, Seymour himself feels particularly refreshed, having only returned to action in last week’s win over Ulster after an enforced break for a few weeks because of a rib injury acquired playing for Scotland against Wales. After just one match back he has yet to reach peak match fitness, but he has been encouraged by how well rested he and his colleagues feel at a point in the season when fatigue is usually taking its toll.