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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Glasgow have the flair in reserve to dowse Edinburgh's fire

Ulster can stay close to Connacht in hard-fought clash

Scrum-half Niko Matawalu is a creative livewire for Glasgow
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Edinburgh v Glasgow
Sky Sports Action & BBC Alba, 5.10pm Saturday
Connacht v Ulster
BBC NI & TG4, 7.35pm Saturday

Glasgow are flying high in the Pro14 with ten wins out of ten - rewarding their handicap backers in eight of those - but rivals Edinburgh look set to be up for the fight in this first instalment of the 1872 Cup.

Edinburgh have lacked the Warriors' consistency this season but have won four of their last five in the Pro14 - the exception was against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein - and are buoyed by two big wins in the European Challenge Cup that took their points tally to a perfect 20 from 20.

Head coach Richard Cockerill brings back some of his frontline players after the European double-header against pool minnows Kransy Yar including the half-back pairing of Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and Jaco van der Walt.

Still without the injured Stuart Hogg, Glasgow have come through two gruelling clashes with French heavyweights Montpellier and have chosen to start with two of their brightest attacking options in half-backs Niko Matawalu and Finn Russell on the bench.

Those two livewire players could turn it on late for the Warriors but Edinburgh will be fired up to keep a lid on the game early on and it could be worth chancing the Edinburgh-Glasgow double result at a big 6-1.

The derby theme continues as Connacht face Ulster in the evening and the visitors should be full of confidence after impressive back-to-back wins over Harlequins.

Ulster are again without captain Rory Best but look to pack more of a punch up front than Connacht, and that could be the key battleground in what is often a feisty, low-scoring contest.

All three of Connacht's Pro14 wins have come at home, to South African pair Kings and Cheetahs and also, far more impressively, over Munster 20-16. They trailed 10-0 at one stage in that tense contest, and this could be just as close-fought so the visitors get the nod with a five-point start.

Benetton Treviso are four-point favourites in the Italian derby against Zebre.

Recommendations
Edinburgh-Glasgow double result
1pt 6-1 Sky Bet
Ulster +5
2pts 10-11 bet365, Coral, Ladbrokes


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Still without the injured Stuart Hogg, Glasgow have come through two gruelling clashes with French heavyweights Montpellier
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