No easy URC rides for SA in the north
Bulls face a tough challenge to stay in top four on the log
The Sharks, Lions and Stormers will be looking to reverse their fortunes in the United Rugby Championship (URC) this week, while the Bulls face a tough challenge as they aim to stay in the top four on the log.
The Sharks play Zebre Parma on Friday, and the second match involving an SA team in the fourth round is in Cardiff also on Friday night when the Bulls take on the Welsh club at the Arms Park.
Cardiff’s only victory in their last six URC matches at their home ground was by 30-13 against Benetton in February, something that will give the visitors from Pretoria a bit of confidence.
The Bulls also seem to enjoy facing Welsh regions as they have lost only one of their nine previous matches against teams from the Principality, in Llanelli in January, while Jake White’s team won 29-19 on their only previous visit to Cardiff Arms Park in October 2021.
On Saturday the Stormers face a tough task in Treviso when they line up against Benetton, one of only three sides who are still unbeaten in the URC after three rounds.
The Italian club have not been beaten in any competition in Treviso since March, with their victory over the Lions last weekend halting a seven-game losing run to SA opponents.
To compound matters for the Stormers, who lost Springbok prop Lizo Gqoboka to injury last weekend, their only previous defeat to Italian opponents was on their last visit to Treviso in their competition opener in September 2021.
After coming up short last weekend, the Lions face a reinvigorated Scarlets in Llanelli on Saturday after the Welsh club recorded their first win of the new season by 31-25 over Cardiff in round three.
The men from Johannesburg were forced to make two squad replacements as JP Smith (prop) and Ruhan Straeuli (utility forward) were flown in to replace the injured Morgan Naude and Darrien Landsberg.
The Welsh club are on a roll at home, having won their last five URC encounters at Parc y Scarlets, though they have lost their last two fixtures against SA opponents.
The Lions are still looking for their first win away from home in the URC since their trip to Treviso last March, while they have experienced how tricky playing in Llanelli can be, as their only previous defeat to a Welsh region side was on their last visit to Parc y Scarlets, in October 2021.
Other games this weekend are: Ulster vs Munster in Belfast, Ospreys vs Glasgow Warriors in Swansea, Edinburgh vs Connacht in Edinburgh, Dragons vs Leinster in Newport. — 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.