Clayton Blommetjies will be expected to steer the Cheetahs ship from the pivot berth against Ulster. Photo: Gerhard Steenkamp, BackpagePix

The Cheetahs will become the first southern hemisphere side ever to take part in the PRO14 championship.  

The side from Bloemfontein will be making history when they take on Ulster Rugby on Friday evening at 8.35pm (SA time) at the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast, Northern Ireland. 

“The players are extremely excited to join this world-class championship,” Cheetahs captain Niell Jordaan said after arriving in Belfast on Wednesday.

PRO14 will for the first time play under the new conference format, which sees each team play home and away against clubs in their own conference and then home or away against the other conference.

Then two more rounds will occur that ensure all derby games are played, which formed an important part of the competition up until now.
South Africans who previously played for Ulster are Johann Muller, Ruan Pienaar and Franco van der Merwe.

Coach Rory Duncan announced a strong team for the first encounter, with regular fullback Clayton Blommetjies running out at flyhalf, with wing Sergeal Petersen donning the No 15 jersey.

Cheetahs Team

15 Sergeal Petersen, 14 Rosko Specman, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Ali Mgijima, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Clayton Blommetjies, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Niell Jordaan (captain), 7 Henco Venter, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Charles Marais.

Bench: 16 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Rynier Bernardo, 20 Gerhard Olivier, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Cecil Afrika, 23 Rayno Benjamin.

African News Agency (ANA)