URC Round 3 Review – Vodacom Bulls Only Team To Win Away From Home


Week 3 of the United Rugby Championship had its fair share of "surprises" if we judge the results according to the performances and results of the 2022/23 season. Surprisingly it was only the Vodacom Bulls who could win on the road.

Connacht and Zebre Parma remained unbeaten while Zebre Parma, Emirates Lions, Dragons RFC and Hollywoodbets Sharks are still looking for their first win of the season.

Glasgow Warriors 20-09 DHL Stormers

Glasgow Warriors scored three first-half tries to defeat United Rugby Championship leaders DHL Stormers 20-9 at Scotstoun.

A Sione Tuipulotu score and then two from Johnny Matthews gave Franco Smith’s side a 20-9 half-time lead, their situation helped by Stormers having two men sin-binned in quick succession.

The South Africans poured on the pressure once restored to full strength but could not break down a resolute Glasgow defence that held firm to claim a statement victory against the team that reached the last two URC finals.

Ospreys 19-05 Hollywoodbets Sharks

Ospreys celebrated their first United Rugby Championship excursion to London with a 19-5 win over Hollywoodbets Sharks at the Twickenham Stoop.

A crowd of 7,183 saw the Ospreys record a deserved victory as the Sharks fell to their third consecutive defeat as a result of a number of unforced errors.

Jack Walsh, Max Nagy and Keiran Williams scored Ospreys’ tries with Walsh adding two conversions.

A try from Phepsi Buthelezi gave the Sharks a third-minute lead after the home defence was exploited in the wide channels, but that was as good as it got for the Durban side.

Zebre Parma 29-54 Vodacom Bulls

Zebre Parma's search for a United Rugby Championship victory goes on after they went down to a 54-29 defeat to Vodacom Bulls at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi.

Zebre's losing run stretched to 28 as centre David Kriel went in for a hat-trick of tries, with Akker van der Merwe and Devon Williams crossing for two apiece. Sergeal Petersen also touched down and Johan Goosen booted six conversions and Chris Smith one.

The Italians did secure a try bonus point though thanks to scores from Jacopo Bianchi, Geronimo Prisciantelli, Scott Gregory and Lorenzo Pani. Prisciantelli added nine points with the boot.

Leinster 36-27 Edinburgh

Leinster ended Edinburgh’s winning start to the United Rugby Championship season with a well-judged 36-27 bonus-point victory at the RDS Arena.

Running out five-try winners at home for the second week running, Leo Cullen’s young side led 21-6 at half-time thanks to converted scores from Lee Barron, Max Deegan and Ciaran Frawley.

Edinburgh lock Glen Young’s yellow card saw their first-half deficit increase from four points to 15, despite Ben Healy responding with his second penalty.

The wind-backed Scots rallied with replacements James Lang, Connor Boyle and Boan Venter all crossing, but Leinster made sure to stay out of reach.

Third-quarter tries from Tommy O’Brien and James Culhane, coupled with replacement Sam Prendergast’s 70th-minute penalty, ensured it was another maximum haul for the hosts.

Scarlets 31 -25 Cardiff Rugby

Scarlets claimed their first victory of the United Rugby Championship season with a nail-biting 31-25 win over Cardiff.

Not only that, they scored four tries to earn a bonus point and won the bragging rights from a highly entertaining Welsh regional derby against a Cardiff side that had beaten them on their own patch last season.

Wales World Cup scrum-half Gareth Davies, who was leading his home region for the first time in his illustrious career, was the star of the game as he scored one try and made another in a second-half performance from the home side that turned the game on its head.

Munster 45-14 Dragons

Ireland Under-20 star Brian Gleeson scored his first senior try during Munster’s 45-14 United Rugby Championship win over Dragons at Musgrave Park that sent them top of the table.

The Tipperary teenager came off the bench to cross with Rory Scannell, Gavin Coombes, player-of-the-match Calvin Nash (2), Tom Ahern and Craig Casey also going over.

Graham Rowntree’s side had three tries on the board to lead 17-7 at half-time, with Academy fly-half Tony Butler converting the first of them from Scannell.

Teenage flanker Ryan Woodman scored on his first start for Dragons who also saw Aki Seiuli cross from a maul, but once Ahern took care of the bonus point, Munster eased their way to a seven-try triumph.

Connacht 22-20 Leinster

Cool-headed Connacht came from 17 points down to beat Ulster 22-20 and avoid their first defeat at the Sportsground since last December.

Captain Jack Carty put a penalty miss behind him to send Diarmuid Kilgallen over for the decisive 73rd-minute try, as the westerners completed a hat-trick of early season United Rugby Championship home wins.

Carty’s opposite number Jake Flannery was emerging as the hero of the hour, tagging two penalties onto his snappily-taken 33rd-minute try as Ulster led 13-3 at half-time.

His half-back partner Dave Shanahan scored to make it 20-3, but centres Cathal Forde and Tom Farrell both crossed during a crucial five-minute spell for Pete Wilkins’ men.

Injury-hit Ulster came under further pressure and despite Carty missing a chance to go level, he soon picked out winger Kilgallen to complete a memorable comeback.

Benetton 15-10 Emirates Lions

Benetton maintained their unbeaten start to the United Rugby Championship with a hard-fought 15-10 home victory over the Emirates Lions.

Tries from Malakai Fekitoa, the first for the former New Zealand and current Tonga international in Benetton colours, and Ignacio Mendy saw the Italians edge home at the Stadio Monigo.

Jordan Hendrikse kicked a penalty and Sanele Nohamba converted replacement prop Asenathi Ntlabakanye's second-half try to level the scores at 10-10 in the final quarter.

But Jacob Umaga's floated pass allowed Mendy to make the corner nine minutes from time, allowing Benetton to build on their opening-day win at Cardiff and draw with Munster.

The Lions remain winless with three narrow defeats to the Stormers, Edinburgh and Benetton coming by a combined total of eight points.