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Dublin: 2 °C Wednesday 19 February, 2020

Pro12: Ulster pair Marshall and Pienaar as half backs for Edinburgh visit

Ricky Andrew will start at fullback as the impressive Jared Payne moves into the centre to partner Paddy Wallace.

Ulster's Mike McComish and Paddy Wallace celebrate at the end of Ulster's win in Glasgow.
Ulster's Mike McComish and Paddy Wallace celebrate at the end of Ulster's win in Glasgow.
Image: ©INPHO/Presseye/Ian MacNicol

ULSTER COACH MARK ANSCOMBE has taken full advantage of the shore leave for his international contingent.

The Kiwi has pitched Stephen Ferris, Craig Gilroy, Paul Marshall and South African Ruan Pienaar straight into the starting line-up to face Edinburgh on Friday.

Ricky Andrew will make his first start for the province after being named fullback for the match at Ravenhill [kick-off 7:05pm].

Andrew is one of nine personnel changes to the starting team which won away to Dragons last weekend, with seven of those in the pack.

Anscombe has named a relatively inexperienced bench, which includes development prop Ricky Lutton, who will earn his first ever cap if he is used against the Scots.

With Andrew earning his second cap at fullback, Jared Payne has switched to outside centre, a position he occupied on a regular basis for his previous club Auckland Blues.

Chris Cochrane will make his fourth appearance for Ulster after being named on the right wing, with Gilroy on the left flank.

The half back pairing of Paul Marshall and Ruan Pienaar remains unchanged from last weekend, while Paddy Wallace will start alongside Payne in midfield.

Third captain of the season

With Johann Muller injured and Chris Henry on Ireland duty, Nigel Brady will captain the team from hooker in an all new front row which includes Callum Black and John Afoa.

Lewis Stevenson retains his place in the second row and is joined in the engine room by Neil McComb.

Stephen Ferris has returned from a back injury to take his place at blindside flanker, with Mike McComish and Roger Wilson coming in at openside flanker and number 8 respectively.

Lutton is joined by fellow Belfast Harlequins front row players Niall Annett and Adam Macklin on the replacements bench. Robbie Diack will provide cover for second row and back row after recovering from a leg injury, with Nick Williams the other forward replacement.

Academy members Stuart Olding and Peter Nelson, along with out-half Niall O’Connor, are the backline replacements.

Ulster will be confident about maintaining their unbeaten start against a side that have lost six matches on the trot.

Ulster: R Andrew; C Cochrane, J Payne, P Wallace, C Gilroy; R Pienaar, P Marshall; R Wilson, M McComish, S Ferris; N McComb, L Stevenson; J Afoa, N Brady (c), C Black.

Replacements: N Annett, R Lutton, A Macklin, R Diack, N Williams, N O’Connor, S Olding, P Nelson.

‘It would be an awfully proud moment to captain Ireland’ – Jamie Heaslip

Pro12: Doak calling on Ulster young guns to keep the winning streak

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Patrick McCarry

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