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Ulster left sweating on key pair Stockdale and McCloskey's fitness tests ahead of Edinburgh semi-final

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Ulster duo Jacob Stockdale and Stuart McCloskey on international duty at Carton House

Ulster duo Jacob Stockdale and Stuart McCloskey on international duty at Carton House

Ulster duo Jacob Stockdale and Stuart McCloskey on international duty at Carton House

Ulster will be hoping Ireland duo Jacob Stockdale and Stuart McCloskey pass fitness tests late in the week ahead of Saturday's Guinness PRO14 semi-final with Edinburgh.

An injury update from the province received both suffered "contusions" in the 28-10 defeat to Leinster at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday and that their availability will be monitored throughout the week.

Losing both players for the semi-final in the Scottish capital would be a hammer blow for Dan McFarland given how integral both are to Ulster's plans in the back line and their ability to generate go-forward ball.

Openside flanker Jordi Murphy is also a serious doubt after suffering a concussion in the loss to his former side and is undergoing the return to play protocols that are mandatory in this situation.

Ulster are already without lock and club captain Iain Henderson, centre Luke Marshall and back three duo Will Addison and Robert Baloucoune for the clash at Murrayfield, and losing these three would make their task considerably tougher.

The northern province have lost both of their games since returning from lockdown - to Connacht and Leinster - but could still reach their first final since 2013 if they defeat Edinburgh at the weekend.

Edinburgh, meanwhile, split their two games with local rivals Glasgow Warriors over the last two weekends and, while they looked off-colour last Friday, did seem sharper in their first match with their full squad out than Ulster did over their two games.

The winners will meet either Leinster or Munster in the final, with Ulster guaranteed to be away in that game if they reach it.

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