The teams were announced earlier today for the Guinness PRO12 match between Ulster and Edinburgh which takes place Friday night at Ravenhill, kick off 7:35pm. Live on BBC NI. 

The least shocking news is that Marcell Coetzee starts at 8, Ulster choosing to announce his return rather prematurely to take some of the edge of the home defeat to Bordeaux and to boost the rather disappointing ticket sales. A lot is being pinned on his return but, while there may be a sufficient adrenalin boost for the South African to produce a storming display first time out, I suspect it will be four to six games down the road before we see the best out of the formidable back row player. 

Perhaps the more encouraging news, certainly the news that may see Ulster pick up a few extra points over the next couple of game is the return of Stuart Olding and Peter Nelson, with Nelson pitched straight into the pivotal role of outhalf. Two talented youngsters that both try and play. I hope to goodness that they and Coetzee are 100% fit and ready for this, given Ulster’s record on recurring injuries you have to worry, but let’s be positive and assume they are. 

If so, it’s a comparitively strong looking side, on paper, and if they get the ball they could do some damage. However if the pack are struggling, well it could be a nightmare; with poor Paul Marshall bearing the brunt of the abuse for a misfiring pack. 

Looking at the Edinburgh pack there’s not a lot of names that jump out at me, but such has been my interest in the PRO12 this season that doesn’t say a lot.A quick shifty back through my spreadsheets and I can tell you  that fourteen of the starting fifteen started against Ulster in the Scottish sides win at Murrayfield earlier this season.

So what we have is a  settled side against one thrown together and, despite the “superstars” on the Ulster side, we all know what way those sort of games generally go. Edinburgh have the added advantage of getting a run out last week, albeit a loss, against Munster. 

The FRU Predicts: I’m expecting this to be a pretty poor game with not much between the teams all the way through. You would expect Ulster’s bench to make a difference but don’t be surprised if Rory Scholes or Michael Allen come on to score a late winner for the visitors. 

Ulster   Edinburgh
Louis Ludik 15 Blair Kinghorn
Jacob Stockdale 14 Damien Hoyland
Darren Cave 13 Chris Dean
Stuart Olding 12 Phil Burleigh
Charles Piutau 11 Tom Brown
Peter Nelson 10 Jason Tovey
Paul Marshall 9 Sean Kennedy
Andrew Warwick 1 Jack Cosgrove
John Andrew 2 Neil Cochrane
Ricky Lutton 3 Murray McCallum
Kieran Treadwell 4 Fraser McKenzie
Alan O’Connor 5 Ben Toolis
Robbie Diack 6 Viliame Mata
Chris Henry 7 John Hardie
Marcell Coetzee 8 Magnus Bradbury
     
Johnny Murphy 16 Stuart McInally
Callum Black 17 Derrick Appiah
Wiehahn Herbst 18 Nick Beavon
Pete Browne 19 Lewis Carmichael
Sean Reidy 20 Viliami Fihaki
David Shanahan 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne
Stuart McCloskey 22 Michael Allen
Tommy Bowe 23 Rory Scholes

1 Comment

  1. The pushing of Marcel Coetzee has felt a bit uncomfortable over the past few weeks – puts a lot of pressure on him. As you say, we must hope that Peter Nelson is fit. It’s a big ask to throw him into a must win (another one!) game with limited game time at a lower level. I suppose it shows that the management doesn’t feel Brett Herron is in a position to deputise for Paddy. Strong back up in the backs from the bench. Fingers crossed.