Matt Faddes ready for tough clash in South Africa with Ulster

Ulster's Matt Faddes scores a try against Ospreys during Friday night's Guinness PRO 14 match at the Kingspan Stadium, Belfast. Picture by Brian Little
Ulster's Matt Faddes scores a try against Ospreys during Friday night's Guinness PRO 14 match at the Kingspan Stadium, Belfast. Picture by Brian Little
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It may only be one game into the new season but Ulster face a top of the table clash with the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday evening after both side’s began their Pro14 campaign’s with bonus point victories on the opening night.

Ulster scored five tries in a 32-14 win over the Ospreys while the South African’s with form Kingspan cult hero Ruan Pienaar in their ranks put Glasgow to the sword.

Full back Matt Faddes made a try-scoring debut against the Ospreys and he knows how difficult it is going to be in South Africa.

“The Cheetahs are a dangerous side and it is at altitude as well, so the climate is going to be different from here but you can’t guarantee there will be no rain,” said the Kiwi.

“It will be nice and it probably suits our brand of footy, throw the ball around a bit and if we get a nice dry evening the boys will be happy to throw the pig skin around.

“I’ve played in Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth, they are tough places to get and get a win.

“We’ll take confidence from Friday and learnings, it wasn’t a prefect performance from us, but it’s week one and we’ll take each game at a time.

“We’re not looking to win a championship in the second week, we’re looking to win the next game ahead of us.

“We probably have been living in each other’s pockets over the last couple of months, overseas trips are always great for building connections and a culture and figuring each other out in more depth

“Africa is a great place as well, the boys will be really looking forward to getting there, enjoying themselves and looking to play some decent footy.”

With the delayed start to the new season due to the World Cup Faddes is happy to be playing in a competitive game.

“It has been a long time coming with the big pre-season, it was a great atmosphere and an awesome evening for it considering the rain we had in the afternoon,” he said.

“It was great, I thoroughly enjoyed it, I got to get the ball plenty of times from the work inside and from the forwards, I was pleased to get 80 minutes under the belt.

“It is always a big difference coming in from the warm-up games to the competitive games, you were a little shaky at the start there.

“We were a wee bit rusty I’m not sure if it was nerves but they played well and played direct and they scored that first try probably off a defensive lapse from us.

“The first two opportunities they got they took points from them.”

The second half of the game was played with one of the floodlights not working but Faddes felt it had no definitive effect on the match.

“It was different and you definitely noticed it,” he said.

“Our first kick we went down that side and we were wary of the kick coming back just with the lack of light, you get on with it though, it didn’t make or break the game.

“It’s probably not happened since club or U13 Thursday night games, it’s a rarity, we outscored them in the second half so we’ll take it.”

‘Job done’ was Dan McFarland’s assessment of Ulster’s opening night Pro14 bonus point win at Kingspan Stadium.

“That’s a good way of putting it (job done). I think playing against the Ospreys, who have one of the best defences in the league over the last number of years, it’s been a stifling defence and very difficult to play against to get a bonus point win is excellent,” said McFarland.

“Defensively I thought we were really good, we made a couple of errors, one big one in the first half which cost us a try, but on the whole we worked really hard and we were physical getting off the line and making our tackles.

“In attack, we put some nice play together, their defence is really good so you have to get a little bit of going forward in what you’re doing against a defence that will double tackle you and try and hold you up.”

“It was also really important that our breakdown work, collision work and contact work was good,” added McFarland.