An Exciting URC Weekend Ahead In South Africa


Munster will head a chasing pack hot on the heels of pace-setters Leinster and Ulster in this week's United Rugby Championship action. With leaders Leinster and second-placed Ulster not playing, Munster, Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh will look to make games in hand count.

Munster currently holds third place, eight points behind Ulster, and they face an appointment with the Emirates Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday. Glasgow and Edinburgh, meanwhile, go head-to-head at Scotstoun Stadium on Friday, with the fierce rivals locked together on 39 points and holding fourth and fifth spots respectively.

Friday's action begins in Pretoria, where the Vodacom Bulls would take leadership of the South African Shield - albeit probably temporarily - if they claim a bonus-point victory over the Scarlets.

Current South African Shield leaders the Cell C Sharks will be firm favourites against Zebre Parma in Durban on Saturday while a busy programme ends in Cape Town on Sunday, with the DHL Stormers hosting Cardiff Rugby.

Friday - Vodacom Bulls v Scarlets - Loftus Versfeld @ 19h10

The Vodacom Bulls have lost just one of their last five Vodacom United Rugby Championship games heading into Friday's clash against the Scarlets.

They have also been beaten on only two occasions in the tournament's history at Loftus Versfeld.

Scarlets have claimed a solitary win from their last four starts and they have yet to taste victory on their travels this term in any competition.

Their last away success in the championship came against Edinburgh 13 months ago but they have only lost twice to South African opposition.

Friday - Glasgow v Edinburgh Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow @ 21:35

The history of meetings between Glasgow and Edinburgh shows how close their rivalry is.

Glasgow lead the overall series 22-19 on victories, with one draw, while the teams are currently level on 39 points in the United Rugby Championship.

Glasgow's five-game winning run in the competition came to a halt with defeat against the Scarlets earlier this month but they have only suffered one home defeat in the tournament during the past 12 months.

Edinburgh have lost their last three URC away matches and have not been defeated four times on the bounce since 2018. On 10 previous visits to Scotstoun, they have won just twice.

Saturday - Emirates Lions v Munster - Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg @ 14:00

Emirates Lions have been cut adrift at the bottom of the South African Shield but they host Munster in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship on the back of a solid victory over Cardiff last time out.

The Lions have faced Irish opposition only on two previous occasions, losing each time against Ulster and Leinster.

Munster arrive in Johannesburg having lost their last two away fixtures - against Glasgow and the Vodacom Bulls - and it is more than three years since they suffered a hat-trick of reversals on the road.

When it comes to facing South African opponents, Munster can reflect on just two defeats from 12 starts, although they were both in South Africa.

Saturday - Cell C Sharks v Zebre Parma - Hollywoodbets Kings Park, Durban @ 18:30

Cell C Sharks currently head the South African Shield, two points above the DHL Stormers and four clear of the Vodacom Bulls.

Their defeat against the Stormers was their solitary reversal in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship across the last seven games.

Zebre Parma are still searching for a first victory in the competition this season and have not recorded a win since beating the Dragons more than a year ago.

Although they have lost all three fixtures against South African opponents this term, their history shows two wins against the Southern Kings and one against the Cheetahs.

Sunday - DHL Stormers v Cardiff - DHL Stadium, Cape Town @ 14:00

The DHL Stormers are in fine form, with a solitary defeat from their last six Vodacom United Rugby Championship encounters.

They are also chasing a third successive home victory for the first time since they achieved it in the 2020 Super Rugby season.

Cardiff have suffered two successive defeats in the competition and they have not lost three on the trot for two years.

The Welsh side have played five previous URC games in South Africa, gaining two victories - both against the Southern Kings