Leinster's Rhys Ruddock is an avid supporter of the new Pro14 league which gets underway on September 1st.
The flanker, who has been playing for the province since 2009, feels that the addition of the Cheetahs and the Southern Kings to the league "has added a real excitement and sort of edge for everyone involved. I suppose its a bit of an unknown."
Ruddock and the Leinster squad will make the 14,835km trip to Port Elizabeth on the 16th of September to take on the Southern Kings before traveling north to Bloemfontein a week later.
Leo Cullen's side will be the first Irish province to travel to South Africa and Ruddock believes that the journey will not be a problem whatsoever.
"A few of us, well quite a lot of us have played over there in the past. The summer tour over there a few years ago and know what to expect both in terms of travelling to South Africa, the great experience that is and playing rugby there which is a massive challenge but an exciting place to play rugby."
"It's definitely exciting for everyone involved and everyone is putting their hand up hoping to be lucky enough to get on the plane and get over there. They're a real proud rugby nation."
The new format to the Pro14 is explained in the video below.
Ruddock, who has made 125 appearances for Leinster, has never played in a conference league format but feels that "it's going to add a new dimension to the league and it'll be a tough test to go over and beat those teams."
Leinster begin their Pro14 campaign with a much shorter journey to Newport in Wales to take on the Dragons on the 1st of September. A week later they host Cardiff in the RDS.
Rhys Ruddock, Jack Conan and Joey Carbery were speaking at the launch of the new Irish rugby jersey.
Canterbury, official kit supplier to the Ireland Rugby team, has unveiled the new Ireland Rugby jersey for the 2017/18 season. The kit features ground-breaking technologies designed to give players an in-game competitive advantage and is available to buy now from Canterbury.com and sports retailers nationwide.