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Ulster handed triple boost for Edinburgh semi-final as key trio Stockdale, McCloskey and Murphy passed fit

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Ulster full-back Jacob Stockdale has recovered from injury to be named in the starting line-up against Edinburgh

Ulster full-back Jacob Stockdale has recovered from injury to be named in the starting line-up against Edinburgh

Ulster full-back Jacob Stockdale has recovered from injury to be named in the starting line-up against Edinburgh

Ulster have received a massive triple boost ahead of Saturday's Guinness PRO14 semi-final against Edinburgh (kick-off 7.35pm) with three of their stars passed fit for the tie.

Ireland pair Jacob Stockdale and Stuart McCloskey have recovered from "contusions" suffered against Leinster to be named in the starting line-up for the Murrayfield meeting, as has flanker Jordi Murphy who has passed all the return to play protocols after sustaining a concussion in the same game.

In total, head coach Dan McFarland makes three changes to the team that lost 28-10 to Leinster a week ago, with fly-half Billy Burns returning to the run-on team and captaining the side.

Louis Ludik returns to the wing in place of Matt Faddes in the only other change to the back line, while Alan O'Connor comes into the second row to replace Kieran Treadwell.

Full-back Stockdale has impressed in his new position since lockdown and is joined in the back three by Ludik and winger Rob Lyttle, while McCloskey is joined in the centre by James Hume.

John Cooney rounds off the back line at scrum-half, where he is partnered by Burns, while Ireland hooker Rob Herring is sandwiched in between Eric O'Sullivan and Tom O'Toole in an unchanged front row.

At lock, O'Connor is joined by Sam Carter in the engine room, while the back row is unchanged from last week with Murphy available, with Matthew Rea and the ever-impressive Marcell Coetzee taking the other two jerseys.

On the bench, John Andrew, Jack McGrath and Marty Moore are the front row replacements, with Treadwell and the returning Sean Reidy covering the loose forwards slots.

New signings Alby Mathewson and Ian Madigan are the half-back cover, with Michael Lowry restored to the No.23 jersey.

On the Edinburgh side, long-serving lock Grant Gilchrist makes his 150th appearance for the capital side as they name nine Scottish internationals in their starting line-up.

In total, Richard Cockerill has made eight alterations to the side that lost to Glasgow Warriors last weekend, with the likes of Rory Sutherland, Stuart McInally, WP Nel and Ben Toolis returning to the run-on team.

ULSTER

15. Jacob Stockdale; 14. Louis Ludik, 13. James Hume, 12. Stuart McCloskey, 11. Rob Lyttle; 10. Billy Burns (captain), 9. John Cooney; 1. Eric O'Sullivan, 2. Rob Herring, 3. Tom O'Toole; 4. Alan O'Connor, 5. Sam Carter; 6. Matthew Rea, 7. Jordi Murphy, 8. Marcell Coetzee.

Replacements: 16. John Andrew, 17. Jack McGrath, 18. Marty Moore, 19. Kieran Treadwell, 20. Sean Reidy, 21. Alby Mathewson, 22. Ian Madigan, 23. Michael Lowry.

EDINBURGH

15. Blair Kinghorn; 14. Darcy Graham, 13. Mark Bennett, 12. Chris Dean, 11. Duhan van der Merwe; 10. Jaco van der Walt, 9. Nic Groom; 1. Rory Sutherland, 2. Stuart McInally (captain), 3. WP Nel; 4. Ben Toolis, 5. Grant Gilchrist; 6. Magnus Bradbury, 7. Hamish Watson, 8. Bill Mata.

Replacements: 16. Michael Willemse, 17. Pierre Schoeman, 18. Simon Berghan, 19. Andrew Davidson, 20. Jamie Ritchie, 21. Charlie Shiel, 22. Nathan Chamberlain, 23. George Taylor.

Belfast Telegraph