Match Preview: Edinburgh Rugby vs. Ulster Rugby
Rob Lyttle has burst onto the scene for Ulster this season and the winger admits he would love nothing more than to help his side head into the Guinness PRO12 break with a win after a patchy run of form.
Lyttle makes his second-ever Guinness PRO12 start for Ulster – having scored in last week’s defeat to Munster – is a new addition to the starting backline alongside centre Sam Windsor and fly-half Brett Herron.
Pete Browne and Clive Ross join the pack for the crucial clash while academy player Aaron Cairns could make his senior debut after being named among the replacements
Since their stunning start to the season – winning five of five Guinness PRO12 games – Ulster have been pegged back following successive defeats to Connacht and Munster.
And 19-year-old Lyttle wants to park those losses to one side before the league takes a three-week break by beating Edinburgh at BT Murrayfield.
“The start of the season was great for me individually, and for the team, but sport is all about ups and downs,” said Lyttle.
“You just take your chance to sub or start and just enjoy it while it lasts.
“At the minute we are going through a frustrating period but we have a game coming up and a chance to put all that behind us.
“A big performance and a bonus-point win would do the team the world of good going into the break.”
All five of Edinburgh’s changes come in the pack – Neil Cochrane is named as captain and starts at hooker, with young props Jack Cosgrove and Murray McCallum set to join him in the front-row.
With Grant Gilchrist and John Hardie retained by the Scotland squad, Fraser McKenzie and Jamie Ritchie are named to start at lock and back-row respectively.
Scotland international Duncan Weir is named as a replacement after recovering from a fractured jaw sustained against Munster in round four, with newly-signed prop Kyle Whyte set to debut if called upon from the bench.
Edinburgh lost to Zebre last time out but acting head coach Duncan Hodge believes his side can rise to this week’s challenge.
“As a group we were very disappointed with the result and performance last week and we see tomorrow’s game as an opportunity to bounce back and make amends,” he said.
“We’ve taken the result on the chin, learned from the experience and worked hard in training to put things right ahead of this game.
“We know we’re facing a quality Ulster side packed with good players but we’re looking forward to running out in front of our home crowd and soaking up the challenge ahead.”
Edinburgh Rugby vs. Ulster Rugby
Friday 4th November, 19:35
BT Murrayfield Stadium
Guinness PRO12 - Round 8
Live on BBC2 Northern Ireland and BBC Alba
15. Blair Kinghorn, 14. Damien Hoyland, 13. Chris Dean, 12. Phil Burleigh, 11. Tom Brown, 10. Jason Tovey, 9. Sean Kennedy; 1. Jack Cosgrove, 2. Neil Cochrane (capt.), 3. Murray McCallum, 4. Ben Toolis, 5. Fraser McKenzie, 6. Viliame Mata, 7. James Ritchie, 8. Magnus Bradbury.
Replacements: 16. George Turner, 17. Kyle Whyte, 18. Felipe Arregui, 19. Lewis Carmichael, 20. Cornell du Preez, 21. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22. Duncan Weir, 23. Michael Allen.
15. Charles Piutau, 14. Tommy Bowe, 13. Luke Marshall, 12. Sam Windsor, 11. Rob Lyttle, 10. Brett Herron, 9. Ruan Pienaar; 1. Callum Black, 2. Rob Herring (capt.), 3. Wiehahn Herbst, 4. Dan Tuohy, 5. Franco van der Merwe, 6. Pete Browne, 7. Clive Ross, 8. Sean Reidy.
Replacements: 16. John Andrew, 17. Kyle McCall, 18. Andy Warwick, 19. Robbie Diack, 20. Conor Joyce, 21. Paul Marshall, 22. Aaron Cairns, 23. Jacob Stockdale.
Referee: Andrew Brace (IRFU, 15th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Dudley Phillips (IRFU), Mike Adamson (SRU)
Citing Commissioner: John Kirk (SRU)
TMO: Gareth Simmonds (WRU)