down cross

Glasgow and Ulster in line for winning starts

Scarlets hit by lengthy injury list

Scrum-half Niko Matawalu is a creative livewire for Glasgow
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Premier Sports, from 3pm Saturday

Premier Sports’ coverage of the Pro14 kicks in with four matches all shown live, starting with Connacht’s home outing against Glasgow at 3pm.

Last season Glasgow opened up with ten straight wins, starting with an 18-12 success in this same fixture, and their starting line-up featuring a back three of Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour and new signing DTH van der Merwe clearly means business.

Connacht set out under new coach Andy Friend with long-serving captain John Muldoon, who led them to their famous title success two years ago, now retired and it may take them a while to find their feet.

A cloudy but dry day is forecast and of the rain stays away the Scots should cover a modest handicap.

Like Glasgow, Scarlets have serious title ambitions but go to Ulster for their opening match (5.15pm) with a horrendous injury list.

Head coach Wayne Pivac is without 14 first-team players including new signing Uzair Cassiem and Wales internationals Jonathan Evans, Leigh Halfpenny and Wyn Jones.

Wallaby international Henry Speight makes his first start on the wing for Ulster and the hosts should edge this one.

Munster kick off their campaign at home to the Cheetahs, who improved steadily as the campaign went on last season.

The South African outfit opened with heavy defeats at Ulster and Munster and will have unhappy memories of the 51-18 defeat they suffered in this fixture in round two last year.

The handicap is set in the mid-20s which may be a bit high as those early results last year were large part down to the Cheetahs’ hurried preparations and chaotic travel.

Munster start with JJ Hanrahan at fly-half outside number nine Neil Cronin, who makes his first Pro14 appearance for more than three years.

Dragons v Benetton is the final fixture of the marathon broadcast (7.35pm) and the Welsh side are six-point favourites as they look to put last season’s poor results, featuring just two wins, behind them.
Gavin Henson and Richard Hibbard start for the Dragons.

Glasgow -2
2pts 10-11 Hills
Ulster -2
1pts 10-11 general

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Cheetahs improved steadily as the campaign went on last season
E.W. Terms
Sky bet