Edinburgh v Ulster: James Johnstone starts, Bill Mata on bench

Scotland Sevens winger Alec Coombes poised to come off the bench and make his debut for Richard Cockerill's side.

James Johnstone
James Johnstone has replaced the injured Mark Bennett in the Edinburgh team to face Ulster. Image: ©Fotosport/David Gibson.

JAMES Johnstone is back in Edinburgh’s starting line-up for tomorrow night’s home game against Ulster and is the only change from the 15 that began the defeat by Leinster two weeks ago. Bill Mata returns from injury and is on the bench, while Alec Coombes is also among the substitutes and is in line for his debut.

Johnstone takes over at centre from Mark Bennett, who has a leg injury. There is a 6-2 split on the bench, with Mata and Connor Boyle both coming in as forwards replacements and Rory Darge dropping out from the squad that lost 50-10 in Dublin. Winger Coombes, a member of the Scotland Sevens squad, is one of two backs replacements along with Charlie ShielNic Groom drops out of the squad after being on the bench last time.

Edinburgh are fifth out of six teams in Conference B after winning two and losing four of their half-dozen outings to date. Ulster are second in Conference A, having won all seven of their games so far. They only trail Leinster by two points as they failed to pick up try bonuses in two of their matches.

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“We have won two out of our last three games and will be looking to bounce back from what was obviously a disappointing result in Dublin,” Richard Cockerill said. “Ulster are a very good side and unbeaten in the Championship so far, so it will be tough task for us on Monday night but it’s a challenge our squad will relish. We have a lot of young Scottish players involved who will be desperate to impress and represent their club and their city.”

Ten players are listed as unavailable due to injury, while another 13 are absent on international duty.

Edinburgh (v Ulster at BT Murrayfield, Monday 8.15pm): J Blain; E Sau, J Johnstone, C Dean, J Farndale; N Chamberlain, H Pyrgos (captain); P Schoeman, D Cherry, L Atalifo, A Ferreira, A Davidson, M Bradbury, L Crosbie, A Miller. Substitutes: M Willemse, S Grahamslaw, D Gamble, J Hodgson, V Mata, C Boyle, C Shiel, A Coombes.

Ulster: M Lowry; M Faddes, J Hume, S Moore, R Lyttle; I Madigan, J Cooney; A Warwick, J Andrew, M Moore, A O’Connor, S Carter (captain), S Reidy, J Murphy, M Coetzee. Substitutes: B Roberts, K McCall, G Milasinovich, D O’Connor, D McCann, D Shanahan, B Johnston, A Sexton.

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About Stuart Bathgate 1427 Articles
Stuart has been the rugby correspondent for both The Scotsman and The Herald, and was also The Scotsman’s chief sports writer for 14 years from 2000.