Brutal War Between Vodacom Bulls And Emirates Lions Expected


The Vodacom United Rugby Championship will spring back into action this weekend after two weeks of European rugby with a massive local derby between the Vodacom Bulls and Emirates Lions in Pretoria at 15:00 (SA Time), where a place in the top eight is at stake.

It may be the only match of the weekend (and the last of round nine), but the teams will have a lot to play for as a victory for the Vodacom Bulls could see them leap from sixth place on the log to possibly third or fourth place, while a win for the Emirates Lions if they deny the hosts a bonus point will see them overtake their counterparts on the table, nudging them from 11th position to fifth or sixth place.

Furthermore, if 16,335 people walk through the gates at Loftus Versfeld, it will set a new attendance record for a single round of the Vodacom URC, after the South African franchises led the way over the holiday season, with the two local derbies accounting for almost half of the total figure when a new record was set in round eight.

With nine pool rounds remaining, competition for quarter-final spots is still tight, which will inspire both Gauteng sides to remain among the playoff contenders in their last match of the first half of the regular season.

While the Pretoria side will bank on their home-ground advantage to continue their impressive form of two wins on the trot in the Investec Champions Cup after going down against the DHL Stormers in their last Vodacom URC encounter, the Johannesburgers will want to make up for their disappointing defeat in the EPCR Challenge Cup against Ospreys last week and earn their fourth win a row in the Vodacom URC.

They will, however, be wary of the fact that the Vodacom Bulls have an unblemished home record in the tournament so far this season, which they will want to build on as the scramble for playoff spots intensifies.

However, the Emirates Lions know what it takes to win in the capital, as they beat the Vodacom Bulls in Pretoria last season, with Sanele Nohamba’s 24 points, including five penalty goals, ultimately the difference between the sides.

The Vodacom Bulls have been more effective on attack this season scoring 64 points more in their eight matches up to now, but the Emirates Lions boast a marginally better defensive record, which could set the scene for a humdinger of a match as Gauteng bragging rights are up for grabs.