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URC Round Five - Teams and Predictions

SATURDAY PREVIEW: Saturday is set to be another big day for three of South Africa’s four URC teams.

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The Lions, Sharks and Bulls are all in action and they all have tricky fixtures.

The Lions will be determined to kick on from their fine form on tour when they host Ulster at Ellis Park following three wins in a row in the Northern Hemisphere.

Should they succeed in their quest to make it four consecutive victories, it will mark the Johannesburgers’ first home win this season after going down 15-31 against their neighbours, the Bulls, on their stomping ground in the opening round.

But the hosts will be wary of the challenge that awaits as the second-placed Ulster have suffered only one defeat so far this season, and it was against log-leaders Leinster.

They also registered convincing victories against Ospreys and Connacht, and they will be determined to build on this in their first game in South Africa.

“Ulster are probably one of the top two teams in the competition when it comes to attacking,” said Lions assistant coach Jaque Fourie.

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“In saying that, they do maul a lot. Coach Albert [van den Berg] has prepped the forwards for what is coming, so hopefully, we can either win the ball in the air or when they come down and maul, we can stop it at the source.

“It is going to be a big challenge for us but it is one we are capable of stopping.”

The preview continues below…

Warriors in the Shark Tank

The Sharks are also back home after a three-week tour and they have brought in several Springboks for the clash.

Eben Etzebeth will be making his debut, while scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse replaces Grant Williams in the starting line-up.

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Mbongeni Mbonambi, Retshegofaditswe Nche, Siyamthanda Kolisi, and Makazole Mapimpi are also expected to make an impact off the bench in the second half.

Sharks head coach Sean Everitt gave his reasons for not starting all his Boks.

“We have been away for three weeks and the Boks had a week off and then they came back into training last week.

“We used that as an integration week for them, so they did not have an opportunity to train fully with the team until yesterday [Thursday].

“We know that cohesion is important and we also know that making too many changes at once can disrupt things a little bit, so it is part of our plan to play some of them off the bench

“At the same time, it is to reward some of the players that played extremely well for us when we were overseas.”

Glasgow outplayed the Bulls in Scotland last weekend and Everitt knows that they will have a tough challenge ahead of them.

“You can’t get away from what they are good at,” said Everitt. “They got an extremely good line-out, they got some tall timber in their pack, so their line-out is a threat and we learnt that last year when we played them in Glasgow.

“They want to play a speed game and they are quite formidable at home and they blew the Bulls away with their speed and aggression at the breakdown.

“As you know 4G pitches are a lot quicker and the Bulls battled to adjust to that. It’s not easy to go from grass pitches to 4G and play against teams that are accustomed to it.

“Glasgow have ’t lost at home for over a year, so they got a proud record and they are vastly improved from when they played against Benetton in the first round.

“We need to improve our defence at the back. It’s going to be a tough game tomorrow [Saturday].”

Glasgow head coach Franco Smith is expecting another physical challenge in Durban.

“As last week’s game proved the South African sides are really physical and we will have to take our level of physicality to another level away from home tomorrow,” said Smith.

“Tomorrow is another challenge and we will need to be ruthless in the contact area and in attack on away soil.

“We’re pleased to be able to welcome Ollie Smith and Ross Thompson back into the side.

“Both have worked hard to recover from injury and we’re looking forward to seeing both men pull on the jersey for the first time this season.

“Everyone is excited for the challenge that tomorrow’s game brings.”

Bulls to right the wrongs?

Meanwhile, The Bulls will have their sights set on bouncing back from their first defeat of the season last week in Scotland when they line up against Munster in Limerick, but they will be wary of the threat the hosts will pose at home – where they registered their only victory this season.

This will mark the Pretoria outfit’s second tour match, and following a disappointing performance last week, Jake White’s charges will place a big emphasis on their breakdown play, in particular, after this area cost them several possible tries last week.

The Bulls have been more effective on attack in the early stages of the season scoring 113 points to 62 by Munster, but the Irish outfit boasts the second-best defence in the competition – with only 68 points conceded in four matches – meaning the Pretoria side will have to be smart and efficient on attack to come away with points.

“Munster are a good team, playing at home [in Limerick], with their back against the wall, it is going to be a tough encounter,” said White.

“There is also a massive amount of Test match rugby experience for their players that play for Ireland and we anticipate they will go back to draw from that experience.

“This weekend will be a good test for us, we are a young side – with players in their early 20s – yet we have done well, far exceeding expectations in the season past and as [last season’s] finalists we must consider that other teams will want to up their game against us, perhaps preparing for our games a bit more than they may have done previously.”

*All of Saturday’s teams and predictions follow below …

URC Round Five fixtures 2022

Lions v Ulster
(Ellis Park, Johannesburg – Kick-off: 14.00; 13.00 Ireland & UK time; 12.00 GMT)

Prediction

@rugby365com: Lions by three points.

Teams:

Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Edwill van der Merwe, 13 Henco van Wyk, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Quan Horn, 10 Gianni Lombard, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Francke Horn, 7 Ruan Venter, 6 Emmanuel Tshituka, 5 Reinhard Nothnagel (captain), 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Jean-Pierre Smith
Replacements: 16 Pieter Botha, 17 Sithembiso Sithole, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Pieter Jansen van Vuren, 20 Sibusiso Sangweni, 21 Morné van den Berg, 22 Jordan Hendrikse, 23 Zander du Plessis.

Ulster: 15 Michael Lowry, 14 Rob Baloucoune, 13 Luke Marshall, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Rob Lyttle, 10 Billy Burns, 9 John Cooney, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Marcus Rea, 6 Dave McCann, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Alan O’Connor (captain), 3 Gareth Milasinovich, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Eric O’Sullivan.
Replacements: 16 John Andrew, 17 Callum Reid, 18 Tom O’Toole, 19 Cormac Izuchukwu, 20 Nick Timoney, 21 Nathan Doak, 22 Stewart Moore, 23 Ethan McIlroy.

Referee: Sam Grove-White (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Griffin Colby (South Africa)
TMO: Ben Blain (Scotland)

Sharks v Glasgow Warriors
(Kings Park, Durban – Kick-off: 16.05; 15.05 UK & Ireland time; 14.05 GMT)

Prediction

@rugby365com: Sharks by 10 points.

Teams:

Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Marnus Potgieter, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Henry Chamberlain, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Phendulani Buthelezi, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Dylan Richardson, 5 Hyron Andrews,4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Thomas du Toit (captain), 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ntuthuko Mchunu.
Replacements: 16 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 17 Retshegofaditswe Nche, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Reniel Hugo, 20 Siyamthanda Kolisi, 21 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 22 Cameron Wright, 23 Makazole Mapimpi.

Glasgow: 15 Ollie Smith, 14 Sebastian Cancelliere, 13 Sione Tuipulotu (captain), 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Josh McKay, 10 Tom Jordan, 9 Ali Price, 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Thomas Gordon, 6 Scott Cummings, 5 Richie Gray, 4 Sintu Manjezi, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 George Turner, 1 Jamie Bhatti.
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Murphy Walker, 19 JP du Preez, 20 Ryan Wilson, 21 Gregor Brown, 22 George Horne, 23 Ross Thompson.

Referee: Chris Busby (Ireland)
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa), Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa)
TMO: Eoghan Cross (Ireland)

Edinburgh v Benetton
(Edinburgh Rugby Stadium, Edinburgh – Kick-off: 17.15; 18.15 Italy time; 16.15 GMT)

Prediction

@rugby365com: Edinburgh by five points.

Teams:

Edinburgh: 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 James Lang, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Blair Kinghorn, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Luke Crosbie, 6 Nick Haining, 5 Grant Gilchrist (captain), 4 Sam Skinner, 3 WP Nel, 2 David Cherry, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Adam McBurney, 17 Boan Venter, 18 Luan de Bruin, 19 Jamie Hodgson, 20 Ben Muncaster, 21 Charlie Shiel, 22 Charlie Savala, 23 Chris Dean.

Benetton: 15 Edoardo Padovani, 14 Mattia Bellini, 13 Tommaso Menoncello, 12 Marco Zanon, 11 Ratuva Tavuyara, 10 Tomas Albornoz, 9 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 8 Henry Time-Stowers, 7 Toa Halafihi, 6 Braam Steyn, 5 Carl Wegner, 4 Marco Lazzaroni (captain), 3 Nahuel Tetaz, 2 Gianmarco Lucchesi, 1 Thomas Gallo.
Replacements: 16 Manuel Arroyo, 17 Federico Zani, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Nicola Piantella, 20 Alessandro Izekor, 21 Manfredi Albanese, 22 Filippo Drago, 23 Dewi Passarella.

Referee: Marius van der Westhuisen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jonny Perriam (Scotland), Ru Campbell (Scotland)
TMO: Leo Colgan (Ireland)

Cardiff v Dragons
(Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff – Kick-off: 17.15; 16.15 GMT)

Prediction

@rugby365com: Cardiff by seven points.

Teams:

Cardiff: 15 Rhys Priestland, 14 Jason Harries, 13 Max Llewellyn, 12 Uilisi Halaholo, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Jarrod Evans, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Shane Lewis-Hughes, 5 Seb Davies, 4 Josh Turnbull (captain), 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Rhys Carré.
Replacements: 16 Kirby Myhill, 17 Corey Domachowski, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Matthew Screech, 20 James Botham, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Mason Grady, 23 Aled Summerhill.

Dragons: 15 Angus O’Brien, 14 Rio Dyer, 13 Sio Tomkinson, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Jared Rosser, 10 JJ Hanrahan, 9 Rhodri Williams, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Taine Basham, 6 Sean Lonsdale, 5 Will Rowlands (captain), 4 Ben Carter, 3 Lloyd Fairbrother, 2 Bradley Roberts, 1 Aki Seiuli.
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Rhodri Jones, 18 Chris Coleman, 19 Aaron Wainwright, 20 Harrison Keddie, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Steff Hughes, 23 Jordan Williams.

Referee: Craig Evans (Wales)
Assistant referees: Adam Jones (Wales), Rhys Jones (Wales)
TMO: Jon Mason (Wales)

Scarlets v Zebre Parma
(Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli – Kick-off: 19.35; 20.35 Italy time; 18.35 GMT)

Prediction

@rugby365com: Scarlets by 11 points.

Teams:

Scarlets: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Jonathan Davies (captain), 12 Scott Williams, 11 Ryan Conbeer, 10 Sam Costelow, 9 Kieran Hardy, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Josh Macleod, 6 Sam Lousi, 5 Tom Price, 4 Jac Price, 3 Harri O’Connor, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Wyn Jones.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Steff Thomas, 18 Javan Sebastian, 19 Morgan Jones, 20 Shaun Evans, 21 Dane Blacker, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Steff Evans.

Zebre: 15 Richard Kriel, 14 Pierre Bruno, 13 Franco Smith Jr, 12 Tommaso Boni, 11 Lorenzo Pani, 10 Geronimo Prisciantelli, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Davide Ruggeri, 7 MJ Pelser, 6 Iacopo Bianchi, 5 Leonard Krumov, 4 David Sisi (captain), 3 Matteo Nocera, 2 Marco Manfredi, 1 Luca Rizzoli.
Replacements: 16 Jacques Du Toit, 17 Alessio Sanavia, 18 Muhamed Hasa, 19 Andrea Zambonin, 20 Guido Volpi, 21 Nicolò Casilio, 22 Joey Caputo, 23 Latu Latunipulu.

Referee: Morne Ferreira (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Ian Davies (Wales), Tom Spurrier (Wales)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Munster v Bulls
(Thomond Park, Limerick – Kick-off: 19.35; 20.35 SA time; 18.35 GMT)

Prediction

@rugby365com: Bulls by four points.

Teams:

Munster: 15 Patrick Campbell, 14 Calvin Nash, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Dan Goggin, 11 Shane Daly, 10 Joey Carbery, 9 Craig Casey, 8 Gavin Coombes, 7 Peter O’Mahony (captain), 6 Tadhg Beirne, 5 Edwin Edogbo, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Jeremy Loughman.
Replacements: 16 Diarmuid Barron, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Roman Salanoa, 19 Tom Ahern, 20 Jack O’Donoghue, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Jack Crowley, 23 John Hodnett.

Bulls: 15 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Wandisile Simelane, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Elrigh Louw, 7 WJ Steenkamp, 6 Marcell Coetzee (captain), 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Walt Steenkamp, 3 Mornay Smith, 2 Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 1 Simphiwe Matanzima.
Replacements: 16 Bismarck Du Plessis, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Jacques van Rooyen, 19 Ruan Vermaak, 20 Marco Van Staden, 21 Zak Burger, 22 Chris Smith, 23 David Kriel.

Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Andrew Cole (Ireland), Dermot Blake (Ireland)
TMO: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland)

URC standings

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