The Champions Cup Set To Start With A Bang In Pretoria For SA Clubs


The two South African franchises in the Investec Champions Cup will be geared up for a fresh challenge this weekend as they enter round one and will have to make a mental switch from the Vodacom United Rugby Championship.

The Vodacom Bulls will host 2022/23 quarter-finalists Saracens in Pretoria on Saturday in their opening match of the Investec Champions Cup, while the Leicester Tigers will host the DHL Stormers, who both dropped out at the top eight stage last season, at Mattioli Woods Welford Road in England on Sunday.

Spicing up these clashes, a few Rugby World Cup-winning Springboks from the respective teams could be pitted against one another, with the likes of Handre Pollard and Jasper Wiese at Leicester Tigers, and the Vodacom Bulls and DHL Stormers featuring the likes of Kurt-Lee Arendse, Canan Moodie and Damian Willemse among others.

The Vodacom Bulls will look to carry the momentum they have been building in the Vodacom URC into their clash against Saracens, with the side boasting an impressive five victories in seven outings. The fact that the Pretoria outfit have won all three of their home matches so far this season will also boost their confidence, while they will also want to take advantage of the Gauteng heat against the visitors from England, who have been playing in vastly different conditions in the Gallagher Premiership.

They will, however, face tough competition as Saracens have also established themselves as one of the top sides in the Premiership where they are currently in fourth place on the standings with five victories in eight matches. The visitors will also be determined to bounce back from their disappointing 18-12 defeat against the Northampton Saints last weekend.

The DHL Stormers, in turn, will be under pressure to build on their home Vodacom URC win last weekend – their first victory in five matches, when they face the Leicester Tigers.

The Capetonians lost all four of their matches on their Vodacom URC tour before returning home last weekend, and they will be desperate to avoid another away defeat and build winning momentum.

They can expect intense competition from Leicester, who are on a three-match winning streak in the Premiership, and who will be hunting their third home win in a row when the sides cross paths.

Investec Champions Cup match information:

Vodacom Bulls v Saracens
Date: Saturday, 9 December
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
SA Time: 19h30
Referee: Andrea Piardi
TV: SuperSport

Leicester Tigers v DHL Stormers
Date: Sunday, 10 December
Venue: Mattioli Woods Welford Road, Leicester
SA Time: 17h15
Referee: Tual Trainini
TV: SuperSport