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Alan Solomons relishing facing Ulster in friendly

By Jonathan Bradley

Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons believes tonight's pre-season friendly with former club Ulster will provide the perfect preparation for his side's PRO12 campaign.

Last season's Challenge Cup runners-up welcome Leinster to the Scottish capital for the first game of the domestic season next weekend and Ulster's approach should provide more stylistic similarities than previous opponents Romania.

The Scots beat Ireland's fellow World Cup Pool D hopefuls by a convincing 31-16 score but are expecting Neil Doak's men to provide a different type of challenge.

With the big kick-off in mind, Solomons said: "Ulster are a quality side, they'll play at pace and put a bit of width on the ball as well so I think that's as good a preparation for Leinster as we could have.

"They're a similar side, playing at pace with intensity."

Seven of Edinburgh's squad will feature for Scotland in their final World Cup warm-up against Italy tomorrow but, now in his third year as Edinburgh coach, Solomons thinks the panel that will play tonight shows the standard of his resources.

There are plenty of new faces on what is an 18-man bench while club captain Mike Comin and five players who had their World Cup hopes dashed this week - wings Dougie Fife and Damien Hoyland, prop Allan Dell, lock Ben Toolis and back-row forward Hamish Watson - are all named among the replacements.

"When I started, I wasn't part of the recruitment or part of the pre-season," said Solomons.

"We had maybe 23 to 26 players who were capable of playing PRO12 rugby.

"We are much better equipped now. We have much better strength in depth and we have Scottish youngsters.

"Pre-season friendlies are preparation matches. I think Neil Doak wants to play quite a few players and I've said play as many as you like, roll the subs. It gives an opportunity for a lot of players to get game time."

While tonight presents the 65-year-old South African with the opportunity of a reunion with his former employers, the same cannot be said for Mike Allen.

The winger, who left Ulster for Edinburgh this summer, was forced to undergo shoulder surgery earlier this month and will be out until November.

Friendly: Goldenacre, Tonight 6.30 pm



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