Guinness Pro14 Game of the Weekend: Ulster vs Scarlets

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Belfast , United Kingdom - 1 September 2017; Director of Ulster Rugby Les Kiss before the Guinness PRO14 Round 1 match between Ulster and Cheetahs at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast. (Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The biggest game of the Guinness Pro14 this weekend comes at the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Current champions, Ulster v Scarlets on Friday night will be the one to watch.

Guinness Pro14 Game of the Weekend

Both teams are in Conference B of the Pro14 and after two rounds of the competition, remain unbeaten. Ulster followed up their convincing first round win against the Toyota Cheetahs with a less than impressive victory over Benetton Treviso in round two. Head coach Jonno Gibbes will be looking for an improvement from his team against the current conference leaders.

While defending champions, the Scarlets, will look to maintain their blistering start to the new campaign with another victory. They secured two bonus point wins over the Southern Kings and Zebre in the opening two rounds. The Scarlets–praised for their attacking style of play last season–have started the new campaign as they finished the last. They have scored 98 points from their first two matches including thirteen tries. The attacking onus is a factor

Ulster vs Scarlets: Players to Watch

There will be plenty of talent at the Kingspan Stadium on Friday night, but here are my players to watch.

Starting with Ulster captain, Andrew Trimble, the winger’s two early tries last time out turned out to be the game winner over in Treviso. Trimble is Ulsters all time top try scorer and his attacking threat is something the Scarlets will need to watch.

Charles Piutau who scored on the opening day of the season was rested last week and Ulster missed his presence. The Kiwi could be a huge factor on Friday night and has the game to cause the Scarlets problems. His running angles and the ability to unlock defences is difficult to defend.

Current British & Irish Lions player of the series, Jonathan Davies, looks set to make his return to the Scarlets line up on Friday night. Davies’ return could mean trouble for Ulster, with his ability to break the line and pressurize the opposition in defence. His presence in midfield could be a game changer.

The final LWOR ‘Player to Watch’ on Friday night, is the man on everybody’s lips right now; with his scintillating performances lighting up the Guinness Pro14, Johnny McNicholl. The Kiwi was a huge part in the title triumph last season and has continued his form this season. McNicholl is likely to return to the wing on Friday night, but that won’t stop his ability to get on the ball and make things happen for the Scarlets.

For mine, McNicholl will be the key player to look out for at the Kingspan Stadium.

Last Word on Rugby Prediction

The game is expected to be a tough and exciting fixture, with both teams having an attacking style of play. Expect plenty of tries in Belfast, with both teams wanting to show their title credentials and put down a marker to the rest of the league.

The Scarlets will be slight favourites heading into the game on Friday night despite being the away side.

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