Ulster Rugby v Cheetahs – Preview, team news – Start time 7:35pm Friday

Ulster Rugby v Toyota Cheetahs, preview, team news and betting advice for the 7:35pm start time on Friday. 

This is a huge match with Toyota Cheetahs having their first Pro14 match since their move from Super Rugby, they face a very tough task taking on Ulster in Ravenhill buts lets hope they put a performance and bookmakers expect it to be quite close with a handicap of Ulster -8.

“It’s exciting because it’s history but they have a full season of competitive games behind them so it’s going to be tough, but we have to stand up to it,” said Ulster coach Les Kiss.

“Anything we enter into, we want to win,” said Cheetahs coach Rory Duncan. “I’m not saying we will, but there’ll be 15 players on the field giving their utmost. Our brand, our culture, we want to represent that. We’re going to do whatever we can to make it work.

“We will be starting with a few niggles from the back end of Super Rugby and start of the Currie Cup, but I’m confident. This is an opportunity to compare our strength with the Northern Hemisphere and is what our supporters have been asking for.

“It’s something that we’ve wanted for a long time, it’s something our supporters have wanted for a long time, and now they’re going to get the opportunity to see it.”

Interesting facts
Ulster Rugby finished last season in 5th place, their victory at home to Leinster in round 22 not being enough to make it through to the semi-finals.

The Ulstermen have lost just once at Kingspan Stadium in the Guinness PRO12 since February 2016, and that by a single point to Munster in round 7 last season.

Ulster have lost just once on the opening weekend of the PRO12 since 2009 when they visited Dragons in 2013.

Toyota Cheetahs will become the first southern hemisphere side ever to take part in the Championship.

Cheetahs recently participated in the Super Rugby competition, winning two of their last three matches, against the Sunwolves in Tokyo and fellow PRO14 newcomers, Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth. They have not won three successive away games since 2013.

The two teams have never met before.

Cheetahs (in Super Rugby)
Last 3 PRO12 results:

15 Apr – Munster (A) L 20-22
27 May – Sunwolves (A) W 47-7

29 Apr – Ospreys (A) L 10-24
1 Jul – Stormers (H) L 34-40

6 May – Leinster (H) W 17-13
14 Jul – Southern Kings (A) W 21-20

PRO12 2016/17
5th – W14 D1 L7 – 68pts
3rd – W4 D0 L11 – 21pts

Last 6 PRO12 form

Top try scorer
9 – Jacob Stockdale
6 – Raymond Rhule

Top points scorer
106 – Paddy Jackson
108 – Fred Zeilinga

Betting advice
Cheetahs look a super bet plus 8pts, it would be very surprising if they do not get at least a losing bonus point considering they are fit from the Currie Cup.

Team News

The front five is made up of Kyle McCall, Rob Herring and Wiehahn Herbst in the front row, with Robbie Diack and Alan O’Connor paired once again in the second row.

Back row forward Matthew Rea could earn his first Ulster cap, as he is included in the replacements along with fellow forwards John Andrew, Callum Black, Rodney Ah You and Sean Reidy. David Shanahan, Peter Nelson and Darren Cave will provide the backline cover from the bench.

Meanwhile, Craig Gilroy has a stress fracture in his lower back and he is expected to be out of action until late November.
Ulster Rugby team

(1-8): Kyle McCall, Rob Herring, Wiehahn Herbst, Robbie Diack, Alan O’Connor, Jean Deysel, Chris Henry (captain), Marcell Coetzee;
(9-15): John Cooney, Christian Lealiifano, Louis Ludik, Stuart McCloskey, Tommy Bowe, Andrew Trimble, Charles Piutau.

Replacements (16-23): John Andrew, Callum Black, Rodney Ah You, Matthew Rea, Sean Reidy, David Shanahan, Peter Nelson, Darren Cave.

Toyota Cheetahs TEAM –

15 – Sergeal Petersen
12 – Rosko Specman
13 – William Small-Smith
12 – Ali Mgijima
11 – Makazole Mapimpi
10 – Clayton Blommetjies
9 – Shaun Venter
1 – Charles Marais
2 – Jacques du Toit
3 – Johan Coetzee
4 – Justin Basson
5 – Reniel Hugo
6 – Paul Schoeman
7 – Henco Venter
8 – Niell Jordaan (Captain)


16 – Torsten van Jaarsveld
17 – Ox Nche
18 – Tom Botha
19 – Rynier Bernardo
20 – Gerhard Olivier
21 – Tian Meyer
22 – Cecil Afrika
23 – Ryno Benjamin



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