Steinmetz and Maxwell in for Ulster

Former Irish international Mark McCall has made two changes to the Ulster side defeated 30-7 by the Dragons last weekend, for their opening Celtic League fixture against Edinburgh.

Former Irish international Mark McCall has made two changes to the Ulster side defeated 30-7 by the Dragons last weekend, for their opening Celtic League fixture against Edinburgh.

Saturday's fixture, a repeat of last year's Celtic Cup final, sees New Zealander Paul Steinmetz replace Shane Stewart (knee injury) at inside centre and Ireland Sevens flyer Andrew Maxwell come in for injured winger James Topping.

McCall, the former Ireland U21 supremo, said of his first competitive selection: "We've got 12 players absent this week, but I think the selection shows how far Ulster rugby has come in the past few years."

Missing in action are resting Ireland squad members David Humphreys, Simon Best, Tyrone Howe and Kevin Maggs. Ulster are also shorn of forwards Roger Wilson, Tim Barker and Neil McMillan, and deputy out-half Adam Larkin through injury.

Humphreys kicked 17 points as Ulster became the inaugural Celtic Cup champions last December, defeating the Gunners 27-21.

"We were all dissatisfied with the performance against The Dragons last Saturday," added the 36-year-old. "We'd had a very demanding training camp prior to our trip with a lot of travel which was hardly ideal preparation for a game, excuses aside though, we were still unhappy.

"However, we've trained well this week and the boys can't wait to get to Murrayfield on Saturday."

Ulster: B Cunningham; T Bowe, J Bell, P Steinmetz, A Maxwell; P Wallace, N Doak; R McCormack, P Shields, R Moore, M Mustchin, R Frost, A Ward (Capt), N Best, C Feather.

Replacements: B Young, N Brady, G Longwell, G Brown, K Campbell, S Mallon, S Young.

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