Ulster’s Ian Humphreys ready for ‘a tough one’ against Edinburgh

Ian Humphreys will again be dictating matters for Ulster when they travel to face in-form Edinburgh at Murrayfield this evening.

Ulster’s Ian Humphreys ready for ‘a tough one’ against Edinburgh

Humphreys, one cap short of his century, continues as Ruan Pienaar’s half-back partner against a team who have won their last eight home games and took the scalp of former leaders Ospreys last week.

Head coach Neil Doak has been able to call upon Ireland flanker Iain Henderson, who will fit in at lock while behind the scrum Stuart McCloskey starts at inside centre in the two changes from last week’s bonus-point win over Treviso.

Humphreys, however, knows Ulster face a daunting task against a side coached by Alan Solomons, who was initially responsible for setting Ulster up on a proper professional footing nearly a decade ago.

“There is no doubt they are the form team in the league and it is going to be a tough ask,” said Humphreys, who has been kept busy since Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding underwent surgery a few weeks ago.

“Edinburgh have won 10 of their 15 games since we last defeated them 30-0 in Belfast and have not conceded too many tries. They are very physical, a big team with strong ball carriers, so we know if we do not match them, particularly at the breakdown, we will definitely struggle.

“I can envisage the game swinging one way and the other, but if we can just be patient, it will work out for us,” said Humphreys, who thought last week’s win in the end against Treviso was what they had planned.

“We were fairly patient last week. We knew that after an hour, the game would open up for us, and it did. We knew that with our bench we would finally get the scores. So we were pleased to get the five points.”

Humphreys warns the province are now entering their most important part of the season.

“We have targeted these four games in this pod as ones to win. They are massive for us, as it could mean that when we finish the season, they could make the difference of being in the play-offs or not. ”

ULSTER: L Ludik; C Gilroy, D Cave, S McCloskey, M Allen, I Humphreys, R Pienaar; C Black, R Herring, W Herbst, I Henderson, F Van der Merwe, R Wilson (Capt), M McComish, N Williams.

Replacements: J Andrew, A Warwick, B Ross, L Stevenson, C Ross, P Marshall, L Marshall, P Nelson.

EDINBURGH: J Cuthbert, D Fife, S Beard, P Burleigh, T Visser, T Heathcote, G Hart; R Sutherland, N Cochrane, W P Nel, A Bresler, B Toolis, R Grant, H Watson, M Coman (capt)

Replacements: S McInally, G Shiells, J Andress, O Atkins, H Blake, A N Other, J Te Rure, A Strauss.

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