Pro 14: Ulster Rugby v Southern Kings Preview

Ulster will be looking for a fast start under their interim coach when they take on the Kings on Friday the 9th of February.

Ulster will begin life after Les Kiss this Friday evening when they take on the win-less Kings at the Kingspan Stadium. The hosts parted ways with their long-term mentor just a few days ago and it will be interesting to see how they perform under a new regime. Jono Gibbes has been handed the reigns for the rest of the season and the former All Black will be keen to see his team put a big score over the hapless Kings.

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Ulster Rugby v Southern Kings | Friday 9 February | Kingspan Stadium | 21:35

To Win (80 Mins)
Ulster 1/100
Draw 28/1
Kings 14/1


Ulster Rugby
Les Kiss' departure, at this point in the season, seems a bit of a strange one as while his former side hasn't exactly hit the lights out in the Pro14 they have enjoyed a very successful Champions Cup campaign and look likely to qualify for the Pro14 play-offs. Perhaps it was their recent Pro14 results that sent Kiss packing. Ulster struggled during the festive season losing two of their three Irish Derbies, with their most recent loss being a rather embarrassing 38-7 defeat away to Leinster.

Anyway, Kiss is gone and former head coach Jono Gibbes has climbed to the hot seat. The former All Black has been handed the perfect fixture to get his tenure at the Ulster helm underway with the Kings essentially canon-fodder. Gibbes will expect nothing less than a bonus point win here despite the likes of Rory Best and Jacob Stockdale being unavailable due to national call-ups.

Southern Kings
The Kings are enduring a real trial by fire during in their d├ębut Pro14 season and are yet to register a win. They now occupy the last spot on the Conference B table and have only managed to claim four points from their 13 fixtures.

Deon Davids men have been woeful against Irish opposition this year going down 32 - 10 to Connacht, 10 - 31 to Leinster and 36 - 43 to Ulster in the reverse tie. They also head into this one off the back of two heavy defeats to the Cheetahs as they lost 21 - 45 to the Free Staters at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium and 45 - 24 at the Toyota Stadium.

Verdict: Ulster (-32) 9/10 *Expected Handicap
They may be missing Best and Co. but Ulster should still have way too much firepower for the Kings to handle. My money is on the hosts registering a big win this Friday evening. 

Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets.net

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