Match preview: Ulster

Match preview: Ulster

This Saturday we face Ulster in the club's first ever home Guinness PRO14 Semi-Final. Get the inside line on the historic encounter at BT Murrayfield with this week's match preview.

HOW TO WATCH

The game is behind closed doors, but supporters can watch live on Premier Sports 1 (Saturday 5 September, 7.35pm) or listen on BBC Radio Scotland. Alternatively, you can follow minute-by-minute action via the club's Live Match centre.


MATCH OFFICIALS

Referee: Frank Murphy (IRFU, 35th competition game)

Assistant Referees: Mike Adamson, Sam Grove-White (both SRU)

TMO: Neil Paterson (SRU)


OVERALL PRO14 RECORD

Played 33, Edinburgh won 11 Ulster won 22.

STORY OF THE MATCH

Edinburgh secured their place in the Guinness PRO14 Semi-Finals for the first time with victory over Glasgow Warriors in their opening game after rugby’s restart. The Conference B winners also sealed the 1872 Cup in the process before their Scottish rivals edged a dead rubber between the two sides 15-3 last weekend at BT Murrayfield.

Edinburgh can now turn their attention a blockbuster collision with Ulster, who come into the contest on the back of consecutive interprovincial defeats to Connacht and Leinster.

But while Ulster’s form since the restart has been less than convincing, Dan McFarland’s men will feel buoyed by their recent record against Edinburgh - winning their last three meetings.

Ulster are also much more accustomed to this stage of the competition as they prepare to contest their ninth Guinness PRO14 semi-final, although they have only won one previous match.


LAST TIME OUT

Oddly enough, the two clubs haven't faced each other since April 2019 when Ulster secured a 7-29 win on a cold night at BT Murrayfield. Before the capital side fell short to the Warriors last weekend, that was Edinburgh's last defeat on home soil.

FORM GUIDE

Edinburgh's loss to Glasgow last weekend ended a run of six straight league wins, while it was the club's first home defeat this season.

Ulster haven't won a league fixture since beating Cheetahs at the Kingspan on 22 February, while the Belfast side have lost both fixtures [Connacht and Leinster] since returning from lockdown.


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Marcell Coetzee - The South African No. 8 is a ferocious ball carrier and never fails to break the gain line when in the loose. The 29 year old has been a fan favourite at the Kingspan since joining the club from Honda Heat in 2016.

John Cooney - The scrum-half has been a revelation for Ulster since joining the club from Connacht in 2017. A pocket rocket with brilliant kicking ability, there's not a lot that Cooney can't do in the No. 9 jersey.

Jacob Stockdale - Nicknamed 'The Lisburn Lomu', Stockdale has game changing ability and can threaten to run it in from almost anywhere on the park. Now an international starter, the winger will be looking to take the next step at club level.


KEY STATS

Edinburgh 3-15 defeat to Glasgow Warriors on Friday ended a run of six successive Guinness PRO14 victories. That reversal was Edinburgh’s first defeat at BT Murrayfield since Ulster beat them there in April 2019.

This is Edinburgh’s first appearance in a Guinness PRO14 semi-final although they have appeared in three previous semi-finals in other competitions; beating Connacht in Galway in the 2003 Celtic Cup, losing to today’s opponents Ulster at Aviva Stadium in the 2012 European Cup and winning against Dragons at BT Murrayfield in the 2015 European Challenge Cup.

Ulster have not won since beating Toyota Cheetahs in Belfast on 22 February, whilst their only away win in the PRO14 this season was against Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth in October.

This is Ulster’s ninth Guinness PRO14 semi-final encounter, but they have won only one previous match, at home to Scarlets in 2013.

Ulster have won their last three matches against Edinburgh including two at BT Murrayfield.

The two sides have met just once before in a post season game at BT Murrayfield with Ulster winning the 2003 Celtic Cup Final 27-21.

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