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Murphy set for Ulster debut as McFarland rings the changes


First timer: Jordi Murphy will pull on the white shirt

First timer: Jordi Murphy will pull on the white shirt

First timer: Jordi Murphy will pull on the white shirt

Jordi Murphy will make his Ulster debut in the No.7 jersey against Edinburgh tonight (7.35pm kick-off) as Dan McFarland makes four changes from the side that beat Scarlets last weekend.

Rob Herring who, like Murphy, was part of Ireland's victorious tour to Australia during the summer, also comes into the line-up and will captain the side after taking the hooker spot from John Andrew, while Kieran Treadwell comes into the second-row alongside Iain Henderson.

Andy Warwick again starts on the loosehead side of the scrum but tighthead prop Tom O'Toole is unfortunate to lose his starting spot thanks to injury.

The spot in the run-on side goes to Ross Kane, while Wiehahn Herbst is fit enough to take a place on the bench.

He is joined by flanker Sean Reidy and lock Alan O'Connor, both of whom started last week's win.

Three youngsters who impressed as replacements last time out will get the chance to do so again, with Eric O'Sullivan, Adam McBurney and Angus Kernohan all maintaining their place in the matchday 23.

Alongside Murphy in the back-row will be Marcell Coetzee and Nick Timoney, with McFarland opting for an unchanged back-line.

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New signing Will Addison is at full-back having overcome the bruised ribs he has been battling, while Henry Speight is also fit to start again despite having to have his fingers strapped to finish off the opener. Last season's top scorer Craig Gilroy completes the back-three.

Billy Burns and John Cooney, fresh from signing a long-term extension, get another chance to develop their half-back understanding, with Stuart McCloskey hoping to repeat his big performance from a week ago alongside Darren Cave in midfield.

Dave Shanahan will again be the reserve scrum-half, with Angus Curtis the other back-line replacement. Neither player saw any action off the bench against Scarlets.

Edinburgh have lost wing Duhan van der Merwe to injury, while Scottish international openside flanker Hamish Watson misses out on the trip to Belfast due to the impending birth of his child.

Having struggled somewhat in a few scrums a week ago, 22-times-capped Scottish tighthead WP Nel is back to shore up the set-piece alongside captain Stuart McInally and Pierre Schoeman in the front-row.

Visiting head coach Richard Cockerill said: "We've worked really hard this week, especially on ball control and set-piece, making sure we execute in the right areas. We need to be better across the board, especially away from home."

Belfast Telegraph

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