Edinburgh v Ulsster: Richard Cockerill recalls Magnus Bradbury to Edinburgh line-up to face Ulster in PRO14

Magnus Bradbury recalled to Edinburgh starting line-up
Magnus Bradbury recalled to Edinburgh starting line-up

Richard Cockerill admits Edinburgh will be left praying for miracles if they slip up at home to Ulster on Friday night.

The Murrayfield outfit sit fourth in the Guinness PRO14’s B conference, a point behind high-flying Italians Benetton in the final play-off slot.

But with two regular campaign games to go, Cockerill admits his side have no room for error.

The capital club’s head coach said: “We’ve got to win. 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.

“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.”

Cockerill has recalled Scotland flanker Magnus Bradbury to face the Ulstermen.

The 23-year-old replaces John Barclay - who drops to the bench - in the only alteration to the starting XV that claimed a valuable away win against Scarlets last weekend.

An unchanged back-three sees Darcy Graham make his third-consecutive start at fullback, with Duhan Van Der Merwe and Damien Hoyland named on the wings.

Matt Scott - who grabbed his second try of the season in the win over Scarlets - is partnered by Mark Bennett in midfield, while Jaco Van Der Walt once again links up with scrum-half Henry Pyrgos at half-back.

An unaltered front-row sees captain Stuart McInally pack down alongside props Pierre Schoeman and WP Nel, with experienced lock pairing Grant Gilchrist and Ben Toolis selected in the second-row.

The inclusion of Bradbury is the only alteration to an otherwise unchanged back-row as Hamish Watson and Fiji international Viliame Mata complete the pack.

TONIGHT’S LINE-UPS

Edinburgh: Graham; Hoyland, Bennett, Scott, van der Merwe; van der Walt, Pyrgos; Schoeman, McInally (capt), 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 (capt), 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.

Friday night’s other key fixture features Benetton against Munster in Treviso.

Kieran Crowley’s side are attempting to make the play-offs for the first time and are challenging with Ulster and Edinburgh for one of two places from Conference B for the quarter-final spots.

Munster have guaranteed a place in the play-offs and are certain of a home tie, however they are locked in a battle with Glasgow to see who finishes top and a home semi-final place.

Tomorrow’s big game features Connacht at home to Cardiff Blue as the duo go head-to-head for the last play-off spot in Conference A.

A win for Connacht will secure that, currently four points ahead of Cardiff.