Four tough games in the northern hemisphere await the SA teams in the third round of the United Rugby Championship (URC), as the unbeaten Stormers join the Bulls, Lions and Sharks abroad.
The Capetonians start their four-week tour of the north against the Glasgow Warriors, while the team from Durban and Welsh side Ospreys will make history when they square off at the Twickenham Stoop in London. Both matches are scheduled for Friday evening.
On Saturday, Zebre Parma welcome the Bulls to Italy, with the only fixture on Sunday that will see Benetton face the Lions in Treviso.
History is on the side of Glasgow in their matches against teams from SA, with the Warriors’ last 12 matches against SA opponents all won by the home side on the day.
Glasgow have won all eight of their home matches against SA sides at Scotstoun Stadium in the URC, something the Stormers have also experienced as their only defeat in five matches against Scottish opponents coming in their previous trip to Scotstoun last January.
Upon naming their tour squad, Stormers head coach John Dobson said they would need to concentrate on their preparations.
“While we are happy to have 10 log points from these first two games, this will be an altogether different challenge in vastly contrasting conditions,” said Dobson. “We are playing on an artificial pitch against an impressive Glasgow side, so we will have to make the most of all the training time we have after the travel.”
Also on Friday evening, the Twickenham Stoop will become the 53rd ground and the first in England to host a URC match when Ospreys host the Sharks.
Ospreys broke a three-game losing run in the competition with their 34-31 victory over Zebre Parma in Swansea last weekend, but they are without a win in their last 10 encounters with SA opponents since they beat the Southern Kings in Gqeberha in 2019.
The Sharks have lost two of their last three matches against Welsh regions.
SA eyes will then switch to Italy, where the two Gauteng franchises will be looking to bounce back from defeats last weekend.
Zebre Parma host the Bulls, who will be looking for their first victory away from home in the URC since their trip to Dragons in early January.
The team from Pretoria have not lost to Zebre though and beat the Italians 45-7 on their only previous visit to Stadio Lanfranchi in February 2022.
On Sunday, Benetton will be looking to stretch their unbeaten run this season to three matches after beating Cardiff away and drawing at home to Munster last weekend.
However, the Italians have not beaten an SA opponent since their win against the Stormers in Treviso in September 2021.
The Lions’ will be looking to repeat their only victory outside SA in the last 12 months, which was on their most recent visit to Treviso last March, thereby extending their four-match winning run against Italian opponents. SA Rugby Communications
Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.