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Friday, 14 December, 2018

Cheetahs could hit ground running in historic Ulster clash

Edinburgh ready to do battle at Arms Park

Ulster winger Charles Piutau is all about power and pace
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Cardiff v Edinburgh
BBC2 Wales & Alba, 7.35pm Friday
Ulster v Cheetahs
BBC2 Northern Ireland, 7.35pm Friday

History will be made at Belfast's Kingspan Stadium as South African side the Cheetahs run out for a league fixture against northern hemisphere opposition in the revamped Pro14.

The boys from Bloemfontein are no doubt pleased to be making the trip at the beginning of September rather than the middle of February, but the two newly-incorporated South African sides have had little downtime after the Super Rugby campaign ended in mid-July.

It will be fascinating to see how the Cheetahs - and compatriots the Southern Kings - take to the Pro14 and particularly on the road, whether they adapt to northern-hemisphere attritional rugby or go all out to play fast and loose, Super Rugby style.

Read more

Pro 14 season preview

Pro 14 top tryscorer

Pro 14 team guide

Pro 14 conferences

They have the players in winger Makazole Mapimpi and Sevens star Cecil Afrika on the bench to turn on the speed. But Ulster have power and pace in their backline too in Charles Piutau, Andrew Trimble and Tommy Bowe, with debutant Christian Lealiifano pulling the strings at fly-half, and Sky Bet go 4-6 that there are six tries or more.

Cardiff and Edinburgh ended disappointing campaigns on a winning note last season, and with Richard Cockerill at the helm the Scottish outfit could keep their spirits up with a battling performance at the Arms Park.

Edinburgh showed both dogged Cockerill-esque resolve and a sharp attacking edge in their final pre-season contest, a 14-10 win over Newcastle, in which Duncan Weir controlled territory well with the boot, and they can at least stay close to the hosts.

Munster, who topped the regular-season table last term, are 30-point favourites at home to Treviso.

Edinburgh +6.5
2pts 17-20 Betfair 

It will be fascinating to see how the Cheetahs - and compatriots the Southern Kings - take to the Pro14
E.W. Terms
Sky bet