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Edinburgh 16 - 10 Ulster: Live scores, updates and result

By Jonathan Bradley

The last time Willie Faloon featured against Edinburgh in the white of his native province, a place in the Heineken Cup final was at stake.

Since then much has changed for all involved, not least the flanker himself.

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As Ulster triumphed 22-19 to book an ill-fated meeting with Leinster at Twickenham, Faloon already knew that his days with the side he has supported since childhood were numbered and a move to Connacht was in the offing.

Three seasons in the west of Ireland were productive for the Armagh man but the lure of home proved too strong when an Ulster return was on the cards this summer.

"That seems a long time ago now," he reflected at a Kingspan Stadium that has been renamed and redeveloped since his first stint here.

"There's a few of the guys still kicking about but not too many. I had a great time away and think I definitely developed as a player and I met some really great guys.

"It's nice to come home too, though. I'm close to my family so it was an easy enough decision to come back.

"I definitely learned a lot there. I've worked under some quality coaches. Eric Elwood, Pat Lam and Dan McFarland, I've learned a lot from those guys.

"I guess I like to think I left it in a better place than when I arrived as well.

"I'm not taking any sort of plaudits for me doing that but I like to think I contributed in some sort of way."

Edinburgh, too, are a much different proposition than they were three years ago and enter tonight's contest second only to Scarlets in the PRO12 league table.

It's a run of form that Faloon thinks is a credit to Alan Solomons, the former Ulster coach now in charge at the Scottish capital's club.

"They are a much different team than they were back then. It'll be a much sterner test than we had that day in the semi-final," Faloon said.

"You can see Alan Solomons' influence right away. He's brought in a couple of parts that he wanted, some big South African boys.

"They just want to go out and knock the tripe out of you.

"Those boys would go out and hit rocks if that's what they were told to do.

"They aren't the sort of team that they used to be. There's a hard edge and it shows with their three from three record."

While acknowledging that Murrayfield has been a testing place to go for visiting PRO12 teams, both Ulster and Faloon have recent experience of winning at the cavernous home of Scottish rugby.

Ulster overcame a red card to Stuart McCloskey to triumph last season and Faloon scored the winning try when Connacht did the same.

"It's always physical there, that's how they want to play," he said. "We need to front up.

"I got a yellow card last season, they got the wrong guy I think, but I got a bit of rest, came back on and scored the maul try.

"They were heavy and hard on us but we just coped with the pressure, that's what you have to do.

"It's a tough place to go; it's very different from a couple of years ago.

"If we're in it after 60 minutes then hopefully we can kick on and win it but we can't let them have a lead and just defend it.

"We need to settle in there and just choke the game out if we're to take the win."

Tonight marks the start of 16 consecutive weekends with an Ulster fixture and Faloon is looking forward to finally building some momentum in a season heavily disrupted by the World Cup.

Having featured in Ulster's opening two games, the win over Ospreys and loss to Scarlets, but been denied the palate cleanser of the triumph over Treviso two weeks ago, the 29-year-old can't wait for his first rush into contact this evening, albeit off the bench, especially with the dislocated shoulder that saw him miss the conclusion to last season fully healed.

"It's the kind of game that forwards just want to go out and show what they can do," he said.

"It's been very disjointed up until now but in the back of our minds we knew this period was coming and that we had this big block of games.

"It'll be good to get knuckled into it and get stuck in.

"Our injury list is quite low at the minute so it's happy days there. Obviously we've got our Irish contingent away but the mood is very good.

"There are guys vying for positions so training has been tough but enjoyable.

"Ultimately some teams are getting it a bit harder than others with guys away but we've a big squad here and guys that can definitely do a job. The players that we're missing, yes they are quality, but then there's guys wanting to go out and give everything.

"There's an opportunity for us to show something. We were fantastic both home games but if you want to do anything in this league you've got to win your away games.

"We can't just go roll over and be taken for a ride when we're away from home.

"This weekend is a great opportunity to buckle down, get our discipline right, get the set-piece right and take it from there.

"I hurt the shoulder there at the end of last season but it's been rehabbed well and there's no problem now.

"I'm sure it'll get a test against some of those Edinburgh boys anyway!"

Faloon can be sure of that.

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