URC Round 15

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Apr 25, 2024, 16:57

URC is getting pretty tasty with 4 rounds to go. Just 1 point separating the top 2.  5th to 11th separated by 3 points. 8th to 11th on the same points.

Its great to see such a competitive tournament with so many teams having something to play for. Lots of different talking points.

First up is Scarlets Vs Sharks. Its a dead rubber game but its interesting to see the Sharks are going full strength the week before their crucial challenge cup semi final. They have gone the opposite approach to Leinster who are resting their big guns for two weeks. Not sure I'd go with either approach. Maybe rest the week before but not two full weeks?

Ulster Vs Benetton. Ulster are having an awful season and used up about 3 get out of jail free cards last weekend. They would normally be favourites at home but I think Benetton are the favourites for this. Its a must win for Benetton as they have still yet to travel to South Africa. Ulster have maybe an easier run in because they have Scarlets (easy) and then Leinster (the week before the Champions Cup final so Leinster will likely rotate) and then Munster. 

Zebre Vs Glasgow: Easy win for Glasgow and 5 points. First of 2 matches they have to play against Zebre so they are assured 10 points there but have two matches in SA to come against the Lions and Bulls. Think they might nick Leinster to top spot.

Cardif Vs Edinburgh. Dead rubber for the woefully unlucky Cardiff but crucial for Edinburgh. Hard to call this one actually. Maybe Edinburgh marginal favourites.

Bulls vs Ospreys. Man did that rotation backfire on Jake White last week. Bulls have too and should win this. Ospreys are the tournaments dark horses and have done very well considering the state of Welsh rugby at the moment. Probably already delighted with the bonus point win against the Stormers but I can't see lighting striking twice.

Lions Vs Munster. Great win for the Lion's last weekend but I think a fully loaded Munster team will be too much for them. Snyman was damn near unplayable last week.

Stormers Vs Leinster: Another rotation policy backfiring. No idea why Cullen didn't bringing a stronger team to face the Lions. They could afford to lose one game but not two. I've no doubt both teams are going be better than they where last week. Stormers should win this with Leinster picking up a losing bonus point.

Dragons Vs Connacht. None negotiable for Connacht to win this and with a bonus point. I've no doubt of the win but I wouldn't be shocked if they didn't pick up a bonus point. Very erratic season for them and Very difficult last 3 games for them which will probably include fully stacked Munster, Stormers and Leinster teams. Going need to pull out some shock results if they want top 8.

Top 8 might not even be enough to secure the Champions Cup qualification with both the Sharks and Benetton in the challenge cup. Sharks have more than a decent chance of winning that. Guess it would be karma for missing out last year due to the stupid shields qualification system that was thankfully done away with. 

Apr 25, 2024, 18:12

Has he rotated at Leinster because of the game against Saints, do you think ? 

Apr 25, 2024, 18:37

Do you have a favourite SA side Stav?

Your guys Connacht are my favourite Irish side. I also support Bath out of the English sides, Edinburgh in Scotland, Toulon in France, the Blues in New Zealand and the Reds in Australia.

Where I struggle to have a club or provincial allegiance is in Wales. As you may have picked up on this board, I have Welsh ancestry and I support Wales as a rugby nation second only to the Springboks. Choosing a Welsh franchise is hard for me though. My paternal grandfather and grandmother come from the Welsh towns of Capel Hendre and Ammanford respectively. If you look at a map of the Welsh rugby franchises . . . here you go . . .

. . . and you superimpose that over a map of Wales you'll see that the boundaries of the Scarlets, the Ospreys and Cardiff all meet up pretty much between Ammanford and Capel Hendre . . . so I support all three and nail my colours to the mast of whichever one is doing the best . . . so curremtly Ospreys.

Apr 25, 2024, 18:48

Rooinek ! How can you not support the Saints ?! I’m disappointed now ;) 

Apr 25, 2024, 18:57

I think it's beacuse I love the place. My sister lives in Bristol so whenever I visit her we always spend a day in Bath.and I've watched them play at the Rec. I do like Saints though . . . and Harlequins.

Apr 25, 2024, 19:10

My brother lives in Bristol ! 

The Rec has the best views of any Rugby ground here. 

Harlequins were always my second team :) 

Apr 26, 2024, 08:14

Has he rotated at Leinster because of the game against Saints, do you think 

Absolutely, the Champions Cup is Leinster priority. But as I said I don't understand why they didn't bring a Stronger team to face the Lions and rotated against just the Stormers.

Do you have a favourite SA side Stav?

I liked the Cheetah's when they where back in the Pro 14, but I'd say now either the Stormers or the Lions. With the Lions its more rooting for the underdog.  With the John Dobson comes across as a really good bloke in interviews. I like the Stormers style of rugby. I did work for a while with a Saffa who was a Sharks fan. He said the Bulls was the team all the other Saffa teams supporters hated the most.

Your guys Connacht are my favourite Irish side. I also support Bath out of the English sides, Edinburgh in Scotland, Toulon in France, the Blues in New Zealand and the Reds in Australia.

Connacht tend to be many peoples second team because again its an underdog thing and they play an attractive brand of rugby. I guess if I had a second team it would be Munster and outside of Ireland would be Benetton. 

English rugby wise I don't tend to follow any of the teams but I do know Bath is a nice city to visit.

I know Toulon a few seasons back where the team everyone loved to hate. They got a lot of hate for being perceived to have bought there away to success in the past or a team of mercenaries. If I was to pick a French team, has to be the "Aristocrats", Toulouse, they play fantastic rugby.

Don't follow the Super Rugby teams.

With regards to Wales. I have relatives in Wales and use to visit their frequently when I was young, but as for who you should support I couldn't tell you. Traditionally the Ospreys where the strongest team from Wales but a few years back the Scarlets where really really good. Hopefully the Welsh rugby union gets its act together at both national and regional level. Rugby needs as many competitive teams as it can get. Ospreys doing well this year. If they make top 8 it would be an excellent achievement given the circumstances.

Apr 26, 2024, 09:08

Out of curiosity does anyone know what the operating budget is for the South African teams?

Looks like the budgets for the Irish teams has been broken down here.


Apr 26, 2024, 13:13

"With the John Dobson comes across as a really good bloke in interviews. I like the Stormers style of rugby."

He has a law degree and I think he has written 2 novels...he seem like a well rounded person whe gets the best from his players.

Apr 26, 2024, 15:24

Still enjoying the URC more than the last 6 years of SR. Perhaps that'll change over time but, for now, I don't have many complaints.

Nice round up, Star.

Hopefully we build up enough of a reserve of cash that the SA also start hiring some quality mercenaries.

Must be honest, it does suck that NZ is in the middle of nowhere because it would be nice to have a few of their teams in the comp.

Apr 27, 2024, 05:01


Stormers: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Suleiman Hartzenberg, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Damian Willemse, 11 Ben Loader, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Ben-Jason Dixon, 6 Marcel Theunissen, 5 Ruben van Heerden, 4 Salmaan Moerat (captain), 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Brok Harris.
Replacements: Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Connor Evans, 20 Willie Engelbrecht, 21 Hacjivah Dayimani, 22 Stefan Ungerer, 23 Wandisile Simelane.

Date: Saturday, April 27
Venue: Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
Kick-off: 19.05 (17.05 GMT; 18.05 Ireland and UK time)
Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy)
Assistant referees: Marius vd Westhuizen (South Africa) and Christopher Allison (South Africa)
TMO: Gianluca Gnecchi (Italy)

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