Lions not going to star in a 'silent' movie
URC ROUND THREE – TEAMS AND PREDICTION: New venues and new opposition, but the same goal – ending a losing streak.
The Sharks set the stage for the South African teams with their impressive win against Ospreys in Swansea on Friday.
Saturday the Lions, Stormers and Bulls have the chance to start making their marks on the European stage.
It starts at the Scotstoun Stadium – where Glasgow, who have suffered only one defeat in their last six matches, host the Lions.
The Warriors have won their last five matches at Scotstoun and their only two previous defeats in nine matches against South African opponents have come away from home.
The Lions have never faced Scottish opposition in a competitive fixture before and will be looking for a return to winning ways after following up their victory against Zebre in Round One – with a defeat to the Scarlets last time out.
The biggest issue for the Lions is having lost both their flyhalves in the past week, forcing coach Ivan van Rooyen to field regular fullback EW Viljoen at flyhalf.
Jordan Hendrikse fractured his right ankle during the Lions’ second-round match against Scarlets last week – with the young playmaker expected to be out of action for at least three months.
Back-up No.10 Eddie Fouche injured his ankle in training on Thursday and has been sent for scans – with the next 48 hours important in determining the length of his lay-off.
Coach Ivan van Rooyen said they are waiting on clarity from the URC to determine if they are able to fly in a replacement.
Admitting that, by no stretch of the imagination, Viljoen can ever be described as a flyhalf, the coach said the outside back had often trained in the No.10 channel.
He said it will require greater communication and ‘shared responsibility’ between the players at No.10, No.12 and No.15.
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“It is about sharing the kicking responsibility and about the proactive communication,”Van Rooyen said, adding that it won’t change the way they play.
Captain Burger Odendaal echoed similar sentiments to the coach, saying communication is going to be “vital” at the Scotstoun Stadium with its 4G synthetic pitch.
“One of the issues in our loss [to the Scarlets] last week was the lack of or errors in communication,” the Johannesburg-based team’s skipper told @rugby365com.
“When we were under the pump and the pressure came on, we went quiet.
“The pressure is on us to keep communicating, even when we are under the pump – especially with a guy like EW [Viljoen] slotting in at flyhalf.
“It [No.10] is a pivotal role. The communications from No.9, No.10, No.12 and No.15 has to be top-notch this week.”
The coach added that if they don’t get their communications right, they will be featuring in a “silent movie” again.
“If everyone keeps quiet, you will miss half the detail of what is happening,” Van Rooyen added.
Then we head 70-odd kilometres east where Edinburgh host the Stormers in the second Scotland versus South Africa match of the day.
Edinburgh has won only one of their last six matches across the United Championship and Rainbow Cup – a 26-22 triumph over the Scarlets in Round One.
They were downed by a last-gasp drop goal at Benetton last time out, but will be bidding to maintain their winning record at the new stadium with its synthetic 4G pitch.
The capital franchise has played seven previous matches against South African opponents, losing just twice – both on the road against the Cheetahs in 2017 and the Southern Kings in 2019.
The Stormers have lost their last four matches across the URC and the Rainbow Cup.
Stormers coach John Dobson touched on the vexed issue of discipline – with penalties all too often given the opposition easy exits from their own half.
“It is remarkable that in two games there was only one ‘earned’ entry into our 22,” he said, adding: “We have to be more disciplined there.
“We also have to be better at stopping pick-and-goes and mauls once they are in our 22. Defensively we have to better.”
He added that Edinburgh’s 4G pitch will also be a big factor in the outcome of the game.
“The way we have been attacking lately, hopefully on the 4G we will get it going.”
Dobson said Edinburgh has gone from a set-piece-based, mauling team to a much more expansive game.
“This could be quite a shoot-out, a spectacle,” the visiting coach said – adding that the new synthetic surface will make for a faster game.
Dobson added that it will take an 80-minute performance to get the result in Edinburgh on Saturday.
“We have shown glimpses of what we are capable of already on this tour and the challenge now is to sustain that intensity throughout the match.
“It has been another week of hard work and we are excited to see what this team can do out there on Saturday,” he said.
The final match involving a South African team will see the Bulls visit Cardiff’s revamped – but historical – Arms Park.
Cardiff boasts an impressive recent home record, having won their last four matches at the Arms Park.
The capital region has lost only two of their previous eight matches against South African opponents, with both of those defeats coming away from home.
The Bulls have lost their last two matches, but have not lost three in succession since doing so in Super Rugby in February 2020.
Bulls coach Jake White said winning is always vital, but added that part of the “process” is to grow as a team.
“It is another challenge for us, in another country, on a different surface,” the Bulls’ Director of Rugby said.
He added that the most important aspect is how the Bulls adapt to the artificial surface.
“A lot of things change,” he said, adding: “The way you attack the breakdown and the numbers you have on your feet. If you commit too many and the ball pops out, you have problems.
“The game is so quick that you don’t have time to fill the field.”
He said on attack the Bulls must play as quickly as they can.
“The quicker you play, the more you test the defence,” the Bulls boss said.
“This is a surface that challenges you both defensively and on attack.”
White said Cardiff is a strong team that will provide a massive challenge to the winless Bulls.
Meanwhile, Leinster will look to cement their place as one of three Irish teams at the top of the standings when they host lowly Zebra at the RDS Arena in Dublin.
Leinster have a formidable record against Italian opposition and their only defeat in such fixtures came at home to Benetton in April 2018.
Leo Cullen’s side have won their last three home matches since they were beaten 27-3 by Munster in Dublin during the Rainbow Cup and they prevailed 48-31 when these sides met in Parma in March.
Zebre, meanwhile, is without a win since February and their last championship victory outside Italy came last November – both of those results coming against the Dragons.
The other Saturday match will see Connacht host the Dragons at the Sportsground in Galway, while the Scarlets are at home to Munster at Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli on Sunday.
* Saturday and Sunday teams and predictions are below …
Saturday, October 9
Leinster v Zebre
(RDS, Dublin – Kick-off: 13.00; 14.00 Italian time; 12.00 GMT)
@rugby365com: Leinster by 35 points
Leinster: 15 Jimmy O’Brien, 14 Adam Byrne, 13 Jamie Osborne, 12 Ciarán Frawley, 11 Jordan Larmour, 10 Harry Byrne, 9 Luke McGrath (captain), 8 Rhys Ruddock, 7 Scott Penny, 6 Dan Leavy, 5 Ryan Baird, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Michael Ala’alatoa, 2 Seán Cronin, 1 Ed Byrne.
Replacements: 16 Rónan Kelleher, 17 Peter Dooley, 18 Cian Healy, 19 Ross Molony, 20 Max Deegan, 21 Nick McCarthy, 22 Johnny Sexton, 23 Rob Russell.
Zebre: 15 Jacopo Trulla, 14 Pierre Bruno, 13 Erich Cronjé, 12 Enrico Lucchin, 11 Mattia Bellini, 10 Antonio Rizzi, 9 Nicolò Casilio, 8 Renato Giammarioli, 7 Luca Andreani, 6 Iacopo Bianchi, 5 Andrea Zambonin, 4 Cristian Stoian, 3 Ion Neculai, 2 Oliviero Fabiani (captain), 1 Andrea Lovotti.
Replacements: 16 Massimo Ceciliani, 17 Danilo Fischetti, 18 Matteo Nocera, 19 David Sisi, 20 Giovanni Licata, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Tommaso Boni, 23 Paolo Pescetto.
Referee: Sam Grove-White (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Peter Martin (Ireland), Oisin Quinn (Ireland),
TMO: Neil Paterson (Scotland)
Glasgow Warriors v Lions
(Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow – Kick-off: 15.05; 16.05 SA time; 14.05 GMT)
@rugby365com: Glasgow by nine points
Glasgow Warriors: 15 Cole Forbes, 14 Kyle Steyn, 13 Nick Grigg, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Rufus McLean, 10 Ross Thompson, 9 Jamie Dobie, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Rory Darge, 6 Ryan Wilson, 5 Richie Gray, 4 Lewis Bean, 3 Murray McCallum, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Jamie Bhatti.
Replacements: 16 Johnny Matthews, 17 Brad Thyer, 18 Murphy Walker, 19 Rob Harley, 20 Matt Fagerson, 21 George Horne, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Sione Tuipulotu.
Lions: 15 Divan Rossouw, 14 Stean Pienaar, 13 Manuel Rass, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain), 11 Rabz Maxwane, 10 EW Viljoen, 9 Andre Warner, 8 Ruhan Straeuli, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Pieter Janse van Vuren, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Sithembiso Sithole.
Replacements: 16 Pieter Botha, 17 Morgan Naude, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Reinhard Nothnagel, 20 Sibusiso Sangweni, 21 Morne van den Berg, 22 Matt More, 23 Wandisile Simelane.
Referee: Gianluca Gnecchi (Italy)
Assistant referees: David Sutherland (Scotland), Dunx McClement (Scotland)
TMO: Matteo Liperini (Italy)
Connacht v Dragons
(The Sportsground, Galway – Kick-off: 17.15; 16.15 GMT)
@rugby365com: Connacht by 12 points
Connacht: 15 Tiernan O’Halloran, 14 Ben O’Donnell, 13 Tom Farrell, 12 Tom Daly, 11 Mack Hansen, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Paul Boyle, 7 Jarrad Butler (captain), 6 Cian Prendergast, 5 Ultan Dillane, 4 Oisin Dowling, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Dave Heffernan, 1 Matthew Burke.
Replacements: 16 Shane Delahunt, 17 Jordan Duggan, 18 Jack Aungier, 19 Leva Fifita, 20 Conor Oliver, 21 Caolin Blade, 22 Conor Fitzgerald, 23 Sammy Arnold.
Dragons: 15 Jordan Williams, 14 Jonah Holmes, 13 Jack Dixon, 12 Aneurin Owen, 11 Jordan Olowofela, 10 Sam Davies, 9 Rhodri Williams, 8 Aaron Wainwright, 7 Taine Basham, 6 Harrison Keddie (captain), 5 Joe Maksymiw, 4 Will Rowlands, 3 Mesake Doge, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Greg Bateman.
Replacements: 16 Taylor Davies, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Chris Coleman, 19 Joe Davies, 20 Ollie Griffiths, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Josh Lewis, 23 Adam Warren.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Stuart Gaffikin (Ireland), Nigel Correll (Ireland)
TMO: AJ Jacobs (South Africa)
Edinburgh v Stormers
(Edinburgh Stadium, Edinburgh – Kick-off: 17.15; 18.15 SA time; 16.15 GMT)
@rugby365com: Stormers by five points
Edinburgh: 15 Henry Immelman, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 James Lang, 12 Cammy Hutchison, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Ben Vellacott, 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Luke Crosbie, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 5 Grant Gilchrist (captain), 4 Marshall Sykes, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Dave Cherry, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Adam McBurney, 17 Boan Venter, 18 WP Nel, 19 Jamie Hodgson, 20 Magnus Bradbury, 21 Charlie Shiel, 22 James Johnstone, 23 Damien Hoyland.
Stormers: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Willie Engelbrecht, 6 Nama Xaba, 5 Salmaan Moerat, 4 Ernst van Rhyn, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Brok Harris.
Replacements: 16 JJ Kotze, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Sazi Sandi, 19 Justin Basson, 20 Marcel Theunissen, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Dan du Plessis.
Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy)
Assistant referees: Ian Kenny (Scotland), Graeme Ormiston (Scotland)
TMO: Stefano Roscini (Italy)
Cardiff v Bulls
(Arms Park, Cardiff – Kick-off: 19.35; 20.35 SA time; 18.35 GMT)
@rugby365com: Cardiff by three points
Cardiff: 15 Hallam Amos, 14 Owen Lane, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Ben Thomas, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 James Ratti, 7 Will Boyde, 6 Josh Navidi, 5 Matthew Screech, 4 Seb Davies, 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Kirby Myhill (captain), 1 Rhys Carré.
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Corey Domachowski, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Rory Thornton, 20 Josh Turnbull, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Willis Halaholo, 23 Matthew Morgan.
Bulls: 15 David Kriel, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Cornal Hendricks, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Elrigh Louw, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Marcell Coetzee (captain), 5 Ruan Nortje, 4 Janko Steenkamp, 3 Jacques van Rooyen, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Simphiwe Matanzima.
Replacements: 16 Jan-Hendrik Wessels), 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Robert Hunt, 19 Walt Steenkamp), 20 Arno Botha, 21 Keagan Johannes, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Lionel Mapoe.
Referee: Chris Busby (Ireland, 11th league game)
Assistant referees: Ben Whitehouse (Wales), John Darcy (Wales)
TMO: Olly Hodges (Ireland)
Sunday, October 10
Scarlets v Munster
(Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli – Kick-off: 14.00; 13.00 GMT)
@rugby365com: Munster by five points
Scarlets: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Tom Rogers, 13 Jonathan Davies (captain), 12 Scott Williams, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Sam Costelow, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Dan Davis, 6 Blade Thomson, 5 Aaron Shingler, 4 Lloyd Ashley, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Rob Evans.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 WillGriff John, 19 Morgan Jones, 20 Shaun Evans, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Dan Jones, 23 Johnny Williams.
Munster: 15 Matt Gallagher, 14 Calvin Nash, 13 Liam Coombes, 12 Dan Goggin, 11 Shane Daly, 10 Ben Healy, 9 Neil Cronin, 8 Jack O’Sullivan, 7 Chris Cloete, 6 Jack O’Donoghue (captain), 5 Fineen Wycherley, 4 Thomas Ahern, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Diarmuid Barron, 1 Jeremy Loughman.
Replacements: 16 Kevin O’Byrne, 17 Josh Wycherley, 18 John Ryan, 19 Rudolph Snyman, 20 Alex Kendellen, 21 Paddy Patterson, 22 Jack Crowley, 23 Jack Daly.
Referee: Ben Blain (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Craig Evans (Wales), Simon Mills (Wales)
TMO: Neil Paterson (Scotland)
* Additional reporting by @URCOfficial