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URC, Round Four - Teams and Predictions

SATURDAY AND SUNDAY PREVIEW: The Stormers will be looking to get their United Rugby Championship campaign back on track in Italy this weekend.


After starting the season with big wins over the Lions in Johannesburg and the Scarlets in Stellenbosch, the Capetonians were brought back to earth with a 9-20 defeat to the Glasgow Warriors last weekend.

They are now in Treviso where they will have a tricky fixture against Benetton, who boast a number of internationals in their side and that includes Malakai Fekitoa.

With a match against defending champions Munster – a repeat of last season’s Final – coming up in Limerick a week later, points at Stadio Monigo on Saturday will be vital for the Stormers.

“I think their [Benetton’s] record in Treviso in the last couple of years is exceptional,” said Dobson.

“I remember they won the Rainbow Cup by beating the Bulls quite convincingly and then they beat us here in our first game of the URC [in 2021].

“They got a big combative pack and they are a hard-working team. We were lucky enough to watch the game against the Lions. It’s a big crowd and they get behind them.


“I think there might be 13 or 14 Italian internationals and last week they rested their skipper and a few others and I see they are all back on deck this week.

“They have obviously gone ‘full metal jacket’ for this game.

“It’s a heavy pack, not quite like the Italian national team. I think this a pragmatic and tough team to break down so we are going to have to secure our set-piece properly to stop their momentum.”

The preview continues below…

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‘Small margins’

Meanwhile, the Lions are also in action on Saturday against the Scarlets in Wales.

The Welsh club are on a roll at home, having won their last five URC encounters at Parc y Scarlets, although they have lost their last two fixtures against South African opponents.

The Lions are still looking for their first win away from home in the URC since their trip to Treviso last March, while they have experienced how tricky playing in Llanelli can be, as their only previous defeat to a Welsh region was on their last visit to Parc y Scarlets, in October 2021.

The Lions have suffered narrow defeats in all their matches so far this season and assistant coach Julian Redelinghuys knows how small the margins are at this level of the game.

“We saw what one point does. if you look at the Springboks at the World Cup they won all three play-offs by one point, so we have been on the other side of that,” said Redelinghuys.

“The margins are so small. I can’t question the guys’ desperation to win a game. I can’t question the guys’ work rate or intent.

“For us, it is just to sharpen up and get better clarity as to what we need to do and at what times in the game.

“At this level and especially touring overseas, you have to be on point on the weekend to get that W. Even if it is by one point.

“One or two moments in the game can be the difference between you winning by seven points or losing by one point. I think we just need to get those moments a little bit better.”

The other games this Saturday and Sunday are Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors in Swansea; Edinburgh v Connacht in Edinburgh; and Dragons v Leinster in Newport.

See below for Saturday and Sunday’s teams and predictions!

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Saturday, November 11:

Benetton v Stormers
(Stadio Monigo, Treviso – Kick-off: 16.00; 17.00 SAST; 15.00 GMT)


@rugby365com: Stormers by three points.


Benetton: 15 Rhyno Smith, 14 Ignacio Mendy, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Marco Zanon, 11 Paolo Odogwu, 10 Tomas Albornoz, 9 Alessandro Garbisi, 8 Lorenzo Cannone, 7 Michele Lamaro (captain), 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Niccolò Cannone, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Giacomo Nicotera, 1 Ivan Nemer.
Replacements: 16 Bautista Bernasconi, 17 Mirco Spagnolo, 18 Giosué Zilocchi, 19 Eli Snyman, 20 Alessandro Izekor, 21 Toa Halafihi, 22 Andy Uren, 23 Jacob Umaga.

Stormers: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Ben Loader, 12 Ruhan Nel, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Ben-Jason Dixon, 6 Marcel Theunissen, 5 Ruben van Heerden, 4 Adre Smith, 3 Neethling Fouche (captain), 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Ali Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Lee-Marvin Mazibuko, 19 Gary Porter, 20 Nama Xaba, 21 Keke Morabe, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Clayton Blommetjies.

Referee: Craig Evans (Wales)
Assistant referees: Federico Vedovelli (Italy) and Alex Frasson (Italy)
TMO: Sean Brickell (Wales)

Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors
(Swansea Stadium, Swansea – Kick-off 17.15; 17.15 GMT)


@rugby365conm: Glasgow Warriors by 11 points.


Ospreys: 15 Max Nagy, 14 Luke Morgan, 13 Keiran Williams, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Mat Protheroe, 10 Jack Walsh, 9 Reuben Morgan-Williams, 8 Morgan Morris, 7 Justin Tipuric (captain), 6 Harri Deaves, 5 Adam Beard, 4 Rhys Davies, 3 Ben Warren, 2 Dewi Lake, 1 Nicky Smith
Replacements: 16 Ethan Lewis, 17 Garyn Phillips, 18 Tom Botha, 19 James Fender, 20 James Ratti, 21 Luke Davies, 22 George North, 23 Dan Edwards

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Ollie Smith, 14 Sebastian Cancelliere, 13 Sione Tuipulotu, 12 Stafford McDowall (captain), 11 Kyle Rowe, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Jamie Dobie, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Sione Vailanu, 6 Matt Fagerson, 5 Richie Gray, 4 Sintu Manjezi, 3 Lucio Sordoni, 2 Johnny Matthews, 1 Jamie Bhatti
Replacements: 16 Angus Fraser, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Greg Peterson, 20 Alex Samuel, 21 Ally Miller, 22 Sean Kennedy, 23 Tom Jordan

Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Gwyn Morris (Wales), John Darcy (Wales)
TMO: Stefano Penne (Italy)

Scarlets v Lions
(Parc Y Scarlets, Llanelli – Kick-off: 17.15; 19.15 SAST; 17.15 GMT)


@rugby365com: Scarlets by four points.

Scarlets: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Tom Rogers, 13 Joe Roberts, 12 Eddie James, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Ioan Lloyd, 9 Gareth Davies (captain), 8 Carwyn Tuipulotu, 7 Teddy Leatherbarrow, 6 Taine Plumtree, 5 Vaea Fifita, 4 Alex Craig, 3 Harri O’Connor, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Kemsley Mathias.
Replacements: 16 Shaun Evans, 17 Steff Thomas, 18 Wyn Jones, 19 Morgan Jones, 20 Ben Williams, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Charlie Titcombe, 23 Ioan Nicholas.

Lions: 15 Quan Horn, 14 Richard Kriel, 13 Henco van Wyk, 12 Marius Louw (captain), 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Sanele Nohamba, 9 Morne van den Berg, 8 Francke Horn, 7 Emmanuel Tsituka, 6 Hanru Sirgel, 5 Ruan Delport, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 PJ Botha, 1 Corne Fourie.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 JP Smith, 18 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 19 Willem Alberts, 20 Ruan Venter, 21 JC Pretorius, 22 Jordan Hendrikse, 23 Rynhardt Jonker.

Referee: Chris Busby (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Gareth Newman (Wales) and Simon Mills (Wales)
TMO: Colin Stanley (Ireland)

Edinburgh v Connacht
(Edinburgh Rugby Stadium, Edinburgh – Kick-off: 19.35; 19.35 GMT)


@rugby365com: Connacht by six points.


Edinburgh: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 James Lang, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Ben Healy, 9 Charlie Shiel, 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Connor Boyle, 6 Tom Dodd, 5 Grant Gilchrist (captain), 4 Glen Young, 3 Javan Sebastian, 2 Ewan Ashman, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Dave Cherry, 17 Boan Venter, 18 Angus Williams, 19 Marshall Sykes, 20 Ben Muncaster, 21 Ben Vellacott, 22 Chris Dean, 23 Ross McCann.

Connacht: 15 Tiernan O’Halloran, 14 John Porch, 13 Byron Ralston, 12 Tom Daly, 11 Andrew Smith, 10 Jack Carty (captain), 9 Caolin Blade, 8 Seán O’Brien, 7 Conor Oliver, 6 Cian Prendergast, 5 Darragh Murray, 4 Niall Murray, 3 Jack Aungier, 2 Tadgh McElroy, 1 Peter Dooley.
Replacements: 16 Dylan Tierney-Martin, 17 Jordan Duggan, 18 Sam Illo, 19 Joe Joyce, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 Colm Reilly, 22 David Hawkshaw, 23 JJ Hanrahan.

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Mike Davidson (Scotland), Ru Campbell (Scotland)
TMO: Wayne Davies (Wales)

Sunday, November 12:

Dragons v Leinster
(Rodney Parade, Newport – Kick-off: 13.15; 13.35 GMT)


@rugby365com: Leinster by 23 points.

Dragons: 15 Cai Evans, 14 Rio Dyer, 13 Steff Hughes (captain), 12 Aneurin Owen, 11 Jared Rosser, 10 Will Reed, 9 Rhodri Williams, 8 Aaron Wainwright, 7 Taine Basham, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 George Nott, 4 Matthew Screech, 3 Lloyd Fairbrother, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Rhodri Jones.
Replacements: 16 James Benjamin, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Luke Yendle, 19 Sean Lonsdale, 20 Ryan Woodman, 21 Dane Blacker, 22 Jack Dixon, 23 Ewan Rosser.

Leinster: 15 Ciarán Frawley, 14 Tommy O’Brien, 13 Jamie Osborne, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 Jimmy O’Brien, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Ben Murphy, 8 James Culhane, 7 Will Connors, 6 Ryan Baird, 5 Jason Jenkins, 4 Joe McCarthy, 3 Thomas Clarkson, 2 Dan Sheehan (captain), 1 Jack Boyle.
Replacements: 16 Lee Barron, 17 Paddy McCarthy, 18 Michael Ala’alatoa, 19 Max Deegan, 20 Scott Penny, 21 Cormac Foley, 22 Harry Byrne, 23 Rob Russell.

Referee: Gianluca Gnecchi (Italy)
Assistant referees: Ian Davies (Wales) and Mark Butcher (Wales)
TMO: Stefano Roscini (Italy)


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