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It's all up in the air for Ulster

Ulster v Edinburgh, Ravenhill, TONIGHT (LIVE SKY SPORTS 1, KO 8.0)

The change in fortunes of Ulster Rugby was given a further boost by coach Brian McLaughlin's announcement of nine home-grown contract signings during the week.

The feel-good factor is back in Belfast with McLaughlin showing his belief in brand Ulster through his promotion of the indigenous players coming through the system.

The next step in Ulster's progress would be a first knockout involvement in the Heineken Cup since their glory year of 1999. If it is not entirely in their hands, it is still a realistic goal. For this to happen, the notoriously inconsistent Stade Francais must fall in one of the last two rounds.

First, Edinburgh must be brought to heel, ideally for a bonus-point win. There could also be the carrot of the consolation of a Challenge Cup quarter-final as one of the Pool runners-up.

Verdict: Ulster

TEAMS

Ulster: J Smith; A Trimble, D Cave, P Wallace, S Danielli; I Humphreys, I Boss; T Court, N Brady, BJ Botha, D Tuohy, E O'Donoghue, S Ferris, D Pollock, C Henry (capt).

Edinburgh: C Paterson (capt); J Thompson, B Cairns, J Houston, T Visser; P Godman, G Laidlaw; A Jacobsen, R Ford, D Young, S MacLeod, J Hamilton, S Newlands, A MacDonald, R Grant.


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