Pro14: Ulster v Edinburgh (Fri)
|Guinness Pro14: Ulster v Edinburgh|
|Venue: Kingspan Stadium Date: Friday, 7 September Time: 19:35 BST|
|Coverage: Live text and audio coverage on the BBC Sport website|
Ireland flanker Jordi Murphy will make his Ulster debut in Friday’s Pro14 encounter at home to Edinburgh.
The summer signing from Leinster is joined in the starting line-up by hooker Rob Herring, who will captain the side, with prop Ross Kane and lock Kieran Treadwell also coming in.
Jamie Ritchie returns in the back row for Edinburgh, with winger Tom Brown back for his first appearance of 2018.
The visitors make one further change, with WP Nel coming in at tight-head.
Ulster opened their Pro14 campaign with a last-gasp 15-13 win over Scarlets in Belfast last Saturday in what was new head coach Dan McFarland’s first match in charge.
Ireland international Murphy, who helped Leinster to a league and European double last season, will be joined in the back row by Marcell Coetzee and Nick Timoney, with Al O’Connor and Sean Reidy moving to the bench.
Ulster’s backline remains unchanged from the Scarlets victory, with John Cooney and Billy Burns once again given the opportunity to develop an understanding at half-back.
Wiehahn Herbst, who missed the end of last season with a knee injury, could be in line for his first game of the season after being named among the replacements.
Edinburgh ‘need to be better across the board’
Edinburgh, who pipped Ulster to a play-off spot in Conference B last season, lost their first game of the competition last week, going down 17-13 to a George North-inspired Ospreys.
Winger Duhan van der Merwe is following return-to-play protocols after suffering concussion, allowing Brown a first competitive appearance since November 2017.
Otherwise the backline is unchanged, with Matt Scott and Mark Bennett resuming their centre partnership and Simon Hickey and Henry Pyrgos continuing at half-back.
Ritchie takes over from flanker Hamish Watson, who misses the trip due to the expected birth of his child. Nel replaces Simon Berghan.
Head coach Richard Cockerill said: “We’ve worked really hard this week, especially on ball control and set-piece, making sure we execute in the right areas. We need to be better across the board.
“We know that the Ulster crowd will be vocal and will be behind their team, so we need to control the game and field position, keeping that support as quiet as possible.”
Ulster: Addison; Gilroy, Cave, McCloskey, Speight; Burns, Cooney; Warwick, Herring, Kane, Treadwell, Henderson, Coetzee, Murphy, Timoney.
Replacements: McBurney, O’Sullivan, Herbst, O’Connor, Reidy, Shanahan, Curtis, Kernohan.
Edinburgh: Kinghorn; Fife, Bennett, Scott, Brown; Hickey, Pyrgos; Schoeman, McInally, Nel, Toolis, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Ritchie, Mata.
Replacements: Ford, Dell, McCallum, McKenzie, Crosbie, Kennedy, van der Walt, Johnstone.