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Dublin: 2°C Sunday 27 September 2020
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Leinster booked their spot in the Guinness Pro14 final with a win over Munster last night and now we get to find out who Leo Cullen’s men will face in next weekend’s decider.

Richard Cockerill’s Edinburgh host Ulster in tonight’s second semi-final at Murrayfield, with the Scottish club aiming to make their first final ever. 

Ulster come into this game on the back of defeats to Connacht and Leinster, but can Dan McFarland’s side produce a big performance on the big occasion?

Kick-off is at 7.35pm and the match is live on eir Sport, with deferred coverage on TG4 from 9.35pm.

Here’s a reminder of how Edinburgh line up this evening. The return from injury of Scotland international back row Jamie Ritchie on the bench is a boost.

Edinburgh:

15. Blair Kinghorn 
14. Darcy Graham 
13. Mark Bennett
12. Chris Dean 
11. Duhan van der Merwe 
10. Jaco van der Walt
9. Nic Groom

1. Rory Sutherland
2. Stuart McInally (captain)
3. WP Nel
4. Ben Toolis 
5. Grant Gilchrist 
6. Magnus Bradbury 
7. Hamish Watson
8. Viliame Mata

Replacements

16. Mike Willemse
17. Pierre Schoeman
18. Simon Berghan
19. Andrew Davidson
20. Jamie Ritchie
21. Charlie Shiel
22. Nathan Chamberlain
23. George Taylor

And here’s the Ulster matchday 23. McFarland has backed his younger props, Eric O’Sullivan and Tom O’Toole, in the starting roles and will be confident his bench can have an impact.

Ulster:

15. Jacob Stockdale
14. Louis Ludik
13. James Hume
12. Stuart McCloskey
11. Rob Lyttle
10. Billy Burns (captain)
9. John Cooney

1. Eric O’Sullivan
2. Rob Herring
3. Tom O’Toole
4. Alan O’Connor
5. Sam Carter
6. Matthew Rea
7. Jordi Murphy
8. Marcell Coetzee

Replacements:

16. John Andrew
17. Jack McGrath
18. Marty Moore
19. Kieran Treadwell
20. Sean Reidy
21. Alby Mathewson
22. Ian Madigan 
23. Michael Lowry

Richard Cockerill getting in referee Frank Murphy’s good books…

richard-cockerill-shares-a-joke-with-andrew-brace Source: Ian Rutherford/INPHO

This was Ulster earlier as they arrived at Murrayfield, where there will be no supporters tonight with the game behind closed doors.

ulster-players-arrive-at-murrayfield-stadium Source: Craig Watson/INPHO

It’s obviously a major boost for Ulster to have Jacob Stockdale, Stuart McCloskey, and Jordi Murphy fit after overcoming injuries this week.

McCloskey and Marcell Coetzee’s ability to win the gainline will be crucial. Ulster have looked their most fluid and dangerous when they’ve got those two key men making an impact. Both of them are excellent offloaders too, while McCloskey’s passing game is sharp. 

Stockdale continues at fullback, where he impressed last time out against Leinster.

jacob-stockdale-during-the-warm-up Source: Craig Watson/INPHO

His left-footed kicking is a real weapon from fullback but Ulster would love to have Will Addison available for this semi-final.

The same applies to wing Rob Baloucoune and captain Iain Henderson, who are also sidelined. Injuries haven’t been kind to them but the northern province will still believe they have enough to get over the line in Edinburgh.

The teams are out in Murrayfield, all set for Frank Murphy to get the game underway…

KICK OFF! We’re up and running in this second Pro14 semi-final. 

2Mins

Edinburgh show their attacking threat as Duhan van der Merwe beats a man wide on the left before Blair Kinghorn shows good footwork too.

But Ulster’s defence recovers shape and van der Walt kicks away to Rob Lyttle, who marks the ball. 

5Mins

Both sides going to the boot early in this game, Stockdale knocking-on that time just inside the Edinburgh half as he chased Billy Burns’ garryowen.

7Mins

Big turnover penalty for Marcell Coetzee! He jackals after van der Merwe has beaten Ludik down the shortside from the scrum. The Ulster number eight is brilliant over the ball.

But then Ulster knock-on from their first real attacking platform from the lineout. 

10Mins

Scrum penalty for Edinburgh as Eric O’Sullivan is pinged for hingeing, so the Scots kick back down into Ulster’s half.

13Mins

Ulster hold on! An extended passage of attack from Edinburgh yields an opening for van der Merwe wide on the left – he looks so dangerous.

Kinghorn then makes a bust and Ulster stop him just short but they concede a penalty and Edinburgh go into the left corner now…

14Mins

TRY! Edinburgh 5 Ulster 0 (McInally ’14)

15Mins

From that five-metre lineout, Edinburgh set up a maul but then captain McInally cleverly breaks back down the shortside with scrum-half Nic Groom in support.

McInally is able to finish through the tackle of John Cooney for the opening try. 

Jaco van der Walt has missed the conversion but first blood to Cockerill’s men!

18Mins

Ulster patient with possession there and they win a penalty for a no-arms tackle by Ben Toolis on Jordi Murphy. Burns kicks down the left-hand touchline to within five metres of the Edinburgh tryline. Great chance to strike back…

21Mins

Ulster have picked up two penalties in quick succession as they apply pressure from five metres out. First one comes at the lineout against Rory Sutherland and then Edinburgh fail to roll away…

They go back into the left corner. McFarland’s men need to come away with something here.

23Mins

But Ulster knock-on! Superb defence from Edinburgh as they stop the Ulster maul and then tackle ferociously. With indecision outside him, Cooney’s pass is loose, with Stockdale and Burns knocking-on as they scramble to scoop it up.

23Mins

This was the moment Edinburgh captain Stuart McInally gave his side the lead.

stuart-mcinally-scores-the-opening-try Source: Ian Rutherford/INPHO

Edinburgh took their five-metre chance, Ulster have just missed theirs.

28Mins

Another miss in the 22 from Ulster. They kick a penalty down the right-hand side this time but, again, Edinburgh’s maul defence is excellent and when Rob Herring breaks off, Hamish Watson comes up with a big breakdown turnover penalty.

Gritty stuff from Edinburgh. 

30Mins

Another 22 miss from Ulster, very poor stuff. Edinburgh give them another shot as their penalty count rises but Rob Lyttle knocks-on as they play off the lineout. 

Ulster will need to find a clinical edge very quickly.

34Mins

Edinburgh’s defence is really in control.

Right wing Darcy Graham does superbly there, slapping down Stockdale’s fend, grounding him and then bouncing back to his feet for the jackal turnover penalty. Excellent stuff and now Edinburgh get an attacking lineout in the Ulster half.

34Mins

But that’s loose from the Edinburgh attack as Chris Dean loses the ball and Ulster look to strike on the counter.

Lyttle spots space deep in the backfield and clears all the way into the Edinburgh 22.

37Mins

Duhan van der Merwe powers down the left touchline again! Edinburgh into the Ulster 22 here…

40Mins

But there’s another excellent turnover for Ulster! Herring gets over the ball and Coetzee slots into position alongside him, anchoring the hooker in place for a crucial penalty. 

HALF-TIME: Edinburgh 5 Ulster 0

Edinburgh did create one last opening but Chris Dean needed to offload to Mark Bennett steaming up on his left after the half-break. Dean couldn’t get the ball away, though, and Ulster clung on.

Dan McFarland’s side will be very frustrated with their misses down in the Edinburgh 22 and a close-range try from Edinburgh captain Stuart McInally separates the sides at the break.

Some revealing first-half stats, highlighting how wasteful Ulster have been on their visits into Edinburgh’s 22.

Stats

The error count is too high but Edinburgh’s excellent defence is forcing some of those.

Ulster have made some big changes at the half-time break.

John Cooney is off for Alby Mathewson.

Louis Ludik is off for Michael Lowry. 

40Mins

SECOND HALF! Back underway in Murrayfield.

42Mins

Duhan van der Merwe is really on it tonight. The big left wing is doing damage with virtually every touch.

43Mins

Stockdale has shifted onto the wing now with Lowry coming on at fullback at the break.

Lowry is a great talent, let’s see if Ulster can bring him into the game. 

44Mins

Ulster have been loose again in these opening minutes, with Bill Burns cross-field kicking out on the full and now Jordi Murphy getting pinged for side entry at the breakdown.

Edinburgh kick down to the Ulster five-metre line, big chance here. 

46Mins

TRY! Edinburgh 10 Ulster 0 (Graham ’46)

47Mins

Ulster stop the maul but Edinburgh go into their one-out carrying until van der Walt slips Burns’ tackle after a clever pullback pass from Dean, then the out-half feeds Darcy Graham for a simple finish.

Van der Walt converts for Edinburgh 12 Ulster 0.

48Mins

Ulster have sent Sean Reidy on for Jordi Murphy in the back row as they desperately look for some momentum.

Edinburgh in a fine position now with that 12-point lead.

51Mins

Simon Berghan comes off the Edinburgh bench to concede a soft penalty, so Ulster are back on the attack in the Scots’ 22…

Until Mathewson knocks on and yet another visit goes to waste. Edinburgh break out from their own tryline and McCloskey has to make a crucial intercept tracking back downfield when it looks like Edinburgh will go all the way!

52Mins

Now Ulster make a big bust as this game breaks up!

Lyttle and Stockdale combine down the right and Edinburgh concede the breakdown penalty. So here’s another visit into the 22 for Ulster. They simply have to start converting these chances into scores.

54Mins

TRY! Edinburgh 12-5 Ulster (Lyttle ’54)

55Mins

That is brilliant from Rob Lyttle to finish as he dances back inside two defenders after Ulster sweep the ball from left to right, with Coetzee prominent. He dots down under the posts.

Burns converts and suddenly, we’re back to Edinburgh 12 Ulster 7!

56Mins

Ulster are right back in this as their bench makes an impact. Mathewson is as lively as ever. 

57Mins

TRY! Edinburgh 17-7 Ulster (Dean ’57)!

59Mins

That is outstanding from Hamish Watson, who surges through tackles down the left-hand side to within a few metres and then offloads inside for Dean to finish. Watson has been outstanding but that’s a sickening blow for Ulster after their score.

Van der Walt converts for Edinburgh 19 Ulster 7!

60Mins

Ulster looking for their own response now, they’re back in the Edinburgh 22 and they win a penalty as the Scots go off their feet at the breakdown. Ulster into the corner…

62Mins

TRY! Edinburgh 19 Ulster 12 (Herring ’62)

63Mins

That’s excellent work from Herring from the back of the Ulster maul, splitting off to his right and finishing strongly. 

Burns’ conversion from wide on the right is wide but Ulster with a real chance now!

67Mins

Tense stuff now from Murrayfield. Can Ulster level things up?

68Mins

But Coetzee knocks-on in the Edinburgh 22, rare mistake from the talismanic number eight.

More big defence from Cockerill’s men. 

12 minutes left, this is a nail-biter!

70Mins

Lyttle again in space down the right as Ulster’s backline clicks…

But it’s another handling error in the 22 as Lyttle then spills the offload back inside from Matty Rea. So frustrating for Ulster, they just can’t stick that final pass!

71Mins

And then Ulster give up a scrum penalty, the last thing they needed. Marty Moore is pinged and Edinburgh get the chance to exit.

74Mins

Grant Gilchrist, making his 150th Edinburgh appearance, gets penalised for not rolling away and Ulster are able to kick into a good position on the right near the Scots’ 22-metre line.

74Mins

Ian Madigan is on for Ulster as they win yet another penalty, Gilchrist again there for not rolling. Edinburgh’s discipline is out the window here. 

74Mins

Can Ulster find a score to level this game?

75Mins

TRY! Edinburgh 19 Ulster 17 (Andrew ’75)

John Andrew is over at the tail of the close-range maul. Can Madigan convert?!

75Mins

HE NAILS IT! Ian Madigan from the right-hand touchline!

Edinburgh 19 Ulster 19

76Mins

That is brilliant from Madigan! What a conversion!

77Mins

We could be heading for extra time here. What drama at Murrayfield!

78Mins

Ulster in possession near halfway…

79Mins

Stockdale wins back a box kick and Ulster get a penalty!

Madigan can win it for Ulster here…

80Mins

Huge kick coming here from over 4o metres out…

80Mins

MADIGAN WINS IT FOR ULSTER!

80Mins

What a finish!

Madigan absolutely nails the penalty from 42 metres out and Ulster are into the Pro14 final against Leinster next weekend! Stunning finish!

Madigan sends Ulster into the Pro14 final against Leinster!

What a win for Ulster. 

They came back from 12-0 down, with the bench making a massive impact. Madigan’s nerve to nail the touchline conversion and then the winning penalty was just sensational.

What a remarkable finish to a brilliant Pro14 semi-final.

Ulster advance into the decider against Leinster back at the Aviva Stadium next Saturday.

Should be a cracker! Thanks for joining us this evening.

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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