Ulster v Edinburgh: Mike Blair makes five changes for final match

The head coach plus Henry Pyrgos, Cammy Hutchison, Stuart McInally and Pierce Phillips are all moving on

Cameron Hutchison will start Edinburgh's final match of the 2022-23 season before being released in the summer. Image: ©Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Cameron Hutchison will start Edinburgh's final match of the 2022-23 season before being released in the summer. Image: ©Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

MIKE BLAIR has made five changes to Edinburgh’s starting XV ahead of his final game in charge of the capital outfit against Ulster at the Kingspan Stadium in round 18 of the URC tomorrow night (kick-off 7.35pm).

Tighthead prop Luan de Bruin gets the nod up front while Glen Young comes into the second-row in place of Marshall Sykes who misses out through injury.

In the backline, Cammy Hutchison starts at inside centre and Henry Pyrgos starts at scrum-half in what will be their final appearances for the club before being released in the summer, while Duhan van der Merwe comes in for the injured Damien Hoyland on the wing.

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The match will also be Stuart McInally’s swan-song after he announced yesterday that he will retire from rugby when his contract finishes this November. He will start this game on the bench, as does fellow leaver Pierce Phillips.

“We were really pleased with last weekend’s performance against Ospreys,” said Blair. “Our physicality and decision-making was spot on from the first whistle – we’ll need that level of focus once again tomorrow night.

“Ulster are a team in form, who are particularly confident at home. It’s vital we match their physicality while putting down a marker in terms of the way we want to play, which is with freedom, while making smart decisions around the way we attack and defend.

“It will be a special occasion for the guys playing their last game for the club. It adds an extra level of motivation for our squad to put in a performance that properly recognises what those guys have all achieved here.”


Edinburgh (v Ulster at the Kingspan Stadium, Friday 7.35pm): E Boffelli; D Graham, J Lang, C Hutchison, D van der Merwe; B Kinghorn, H Pyrgos; P Schoeman, D Cherry, L de Bruin, G Young, S Skinner, J Ritchie (captain), H Watson, V Mata. Substitutes: S McInally, B Venter, W Nel, P Phillips, C Boyle, B Vellacott, M Bennett, N Sweeney.

Ulster: M Lowry; R Baloucoune, J Hume, S Moore, J Stockdale; B Burns, J Cooney; A Warwick, R Herring, J Toomaga-Allen, A O’Connor (captain), K Treadwell, D McCann, N Timoney, D Vermeulen. Substitutes: T Stewart, C Reid, G Milasinovich, S Carter, H Sheridan, N Doak, L Marshall, C Gilroy.


Unavailable Edinburgh players: Luke Crosbie, Chris Dean, Grant Gilchrist, Wes Goosen, Nick Haining, Jamie Hodgson, Damien Hoyland, Henry Immelman, Ben Muncaster, Harry Paterson, Marshall Sykes.

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About David Barnes 3800 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

1 Comment

  1. Surprised that Cammy Hutchinson starts ahead of Bennett considering he is leaving. This will be an interesting one, for Edinburgh are nowhere near as bad as the results suggest and it is Blair’s swansong so they will be trying hard for him. Expect a tough game. That said, this Edinburgh team is sadly so much less than the sum of its parts and there is a lot to get right for next season in order to contend for prizes. Where on Most of the raw material is already there – Boffelli, VDM, Graham, Bennett, Lang, Kinghorn, the Mish, Ritchie, Mata, the upcoming force that is Muncaster, Gilchrist, Skinner, Cherry, Nel and of course Schooooo! The likes of Ashman and Healy will strengthen the ranks even further next year. Goodness me, so many reasons to be cheerful. All they need is a top coach to pull it all together.



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