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URC Preview Saturday – Lions, Stormers and Bulls in action

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The Cell C Sharks started the weekend well for the South Africans, now it is up to the Lions, Stormers and Bulls to make this a good weekend for them.

It was one of the better performances we have seen from the Sharks on Friday and they came out deserved winners over Ospreys.

On Saturday The Lions will take on Glasgow, the Stormers play Edinburgh and the Bulls will face Cardiff.

Glasgow will want to build on their win against the Sharks from last weekend when they face the Emirates Lions on Saturday afternoon.

Both teams are one from two games going into this third round match with the Lions who had suffered a major setback when the loss Jordan Hendrikse with an ankle fracture this week. Hendrikse has been the star in this Lions side throughout the year and he will surely be missed.

EW Viljoen who has been playing at fullback most of the season will take the number ten jumper this weekend for the visitors.

If Hendrikse loss was not enough, the Lions also will have to do without Eddie Fouche. Lions coach Van Rooyen hopes with the travel ban from the UK relaxing now, that he will be able to get some replacements to join the squad soon.

Stean Pienaar will start on the wing this weekend for the Lions with Divan Rossouw at fullback and Rabz Maxwane completing the back three.

In the midfield Manuel Rass will join Burger Odendaal with Viljoen and Warner as the halfback pair.

In the pack Jannie Du Plessis and Sti Sithole will pack down with Jaco Visagie in the front row.

Ruben Schoeman and Pieter Janse van Vuren will pack down in the second row with Jaco Kriel, Vincent Tshituka and Ruhan Straeuli picked as the loose trio for this clash.

The Lions have played some good rugby but in both their first two matches they struggled to maintain momentum for the full 80 minutes. Glasgow has a very good balanced side and they can score tries form everywhere on the field.

Playing to their strong pack will be essential for the Lions to create opportunities for the backs to attack from. This will be an exciting encounter and if the Lions can overcome the loss of Hendrikse they stand a good chance to take their second win of the competition.

Teams:

Glasgow Warriors: Cole Forbes, Kyle Steyn, Nick Grigg, Sam Johnson, Rufus McLean, Ross Thompson, Jamie Dobie; Jamie Bhatti, Fraser Brown, Murray McCallum, Lewis Bean, Richie Gray, Ryan Wilson, Rory Darge, Jack Dempsey.

Replacements: Johnny Matthews, Brad Thyer, Murphy Walker, Rob Harley, Matt Fagerson, George Horne, Duncan Weir, Sione Tuipulotu.

Emirates Lions: Divan Rossouw, Stean Pienaar, Manuel Rass, Burger Odendaal (captain), Rabz Maxwane, EW Viljoen, Andre Warner, Sti Sithole, Jaco Visagie, Jannie du Plessis, Ruben Schoeman, Pieter Janse van Vuren, Jaco Kriel, Vincent Tshituka, Ruhan Straeuli.

Replacements: PJ Botha, Morgan Naude, Carlu Sadie, Reinhard Nothnagel, Sibusiso Sangweni, Morne van den Berg, Matt More, Wandisile Simelane.

It just has to be better for the Stormers this week after they had control of their matches in the first two rounds just to see them loose it at the end. This weekend we see the men from Caper Town travel to Edinburgh to face a team who comes off a good win over the Sharks last week.

Last weeks fist half for the Stormers was the best we have seen from them for a long time and all that is needed now, as with all the SA teams is to put that in a 80 minutes performance.

Stormers coach, Dobson has spoken this week on his team that needs to adopt to the interpretation of the break down laws so that they can cut down on the penalty count which has cost them in the firs two rounds.

It is a great day for Juan de Jongh who will run out for the 100th time in a Stormers jumper this Saturday. De Jongh made his Stormers debut in 2010 and he will partner this week with Rikus van Heerden in the midfield. He is one of six changes to the side for this weekend.

We also see Edwill van der Merwe coming in on the wing and Tim Swiel will form the new halfback partnership with Paul de Wet.

In the pack Ernst van Rhyn comes in to partner Salmaan Moerat in the second row. Dobson opted to keep his front row the same with Neethling Fouche, Scarra Ntubeni and Brok Harris to start and Blose and Kotze to come of the bench later in the match.

Roos, Engelbrecht and Xaba will again pack down as the loos trio for this one.

Luan de Bruin will make his debut for the home side in the front row this weekend as well as Ramiro Moyano. They are among the seven changes coach Mike Blair made to his side that beat the Sharks.

De Bruin will pack down with Pierre Schoeman and Dave Cherry in the front row with Sykes and Crosbie are also back in the starting XV.

In the backline Lang moves to outside centre with Hutchison returning to the side. Moyano will also start this weekend on the wing for the home side.

Teams:

Edinburgh: Henry Immelman, Darcy Graham, James Lang, Cammy Hutchison, Ramiro Moyano, Jaco van der Walt, Ben Vellacott, Pierre Schoeman, Dave Cherry, Luan de Bruin, Marshall Sykes, Grant Gilchrist (captain), Jamie Ritchie, Luke Crosbie, Viliame Mata.

Replacements: Adam McBurney, Boan Venter, WP Nel, Jamie Hodgson, Magnus Bradbury, Charlie Shiel, James Johnstone, Damien Hoyland.

DHL Stormers: Warrick Gelant, Sergeal Petersen, Juan de Jongh, Rikus Pretorius, Edwill van der Merwe, Tim Swiel, Paul de Wet, Brok Harris, Scarra Ntubeni, Neethling Fouche, Ernst van Rhyn, Salmaan Moerat (captain), Nama Xaba, Willie Engelbrecht, Evan Roos.

Replacements: JJ Kotze, Kwenzo Blose, Sazi Sandi, Justin Basson, Marcel Theunissen, Godlen Masimla, Manie Libbok, Dan du Plessis.

It was a pretty disappointing few weeks for the Bulls in the United Rugby Championship, not just because they are two losses from two matches, but the way they have loss.

We just expected more from the Bulls who went into the tournament with the tag of the best South African side. White has also come under fire for remarks he made before and after the loss against Irish outfit Connacht last week which did not go down well with the locals.

The Bulls have not come close to putting a good performance together as the struggled with their attack and defence so far. A huge step up is expected from their fans for this weekend but easy it will not be against Cardiff.

Jake White has made a few changes to his side for this one. David Kriel, Madosh Tambwe and Kurt-Lee Arendse will make a return to the starting XV. This means that Cornal Hendricks will move to the midfield partnering with Harold Vorster. Johan Goosen will partner with Papier as the halfback

In the pack, Bismarck du Plessis will pack down with Matanzima and Jacques Van Rooyen in a new look front row with Janko Swanepoel and Nortje in the second row.

Jacques du Plessis will form the loose trio with Coetzee and Elrigh Louw.

Cardiff will welcome back Josh Navidi for the first time in the competition this weekend. He will slot in at number six combining with Boyde and Ratti to form the loose trio combination.

Loyd Williams is back at nine to form the halfback combination with Priestland and Lee-Lo and Thomas will be in the midfield.

Owen Lane will form the back three alongside Hallam Amos and Lion, Josh Adams. This is an all-international backline which will give the Bulls plenty to think about in this clash.

This is going to be a massive game for both side and one not to miss. The Bulls will be desperate for the win against a very strong Cardiff side.

Teams:

Cardiff: Hallam Amos; Owen Lane, Rey Lee-Lo, Ben Thomas, Josh Adams; Rhys Priestland, Lloyd Williams; Rhys Carre, Kirby Myhill, Dmitri Arhip, Seb Davies, Matthew Screech, Josh Navidi, Will Boyde, James Ratti.

Replacements: Kristian Dacey, Corey Domachowski, Dillon Lewis, Rory Thornton, Josh Turnbull, Tomos Williams, Willis Halaholo, Matthew Morgan.

Vodacom Bulls: David Kriel, Madosh Tambwe, Cornal Hendricks, Harold Vorster, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Johan Goosen, Embrose Papier; Simphiwe Matanzima, Bismarck du Plessis, Jacques van Rooyen, Janko Swanepoel, Ruan Nortje, Marcell Coetzee (captain), Jacques du Plessis, Elrigh Louw.

Replacements: Jan-Hendrik Wessels, Lizo Gqoboka, Robert Hunt, Walt Steenkamp, Arno Botha, Keagan Johannes, Chris Smith, Lionel Mapoe.

Other matches this Saturday:

Leinster will want to keep the winning momentum when they face Zebre this weekend. They were pushed hard last weekend by the Dragons manage to squeeze that one through 7-6 at the end. Zebre is still looking for their first win of the season and will have to be much better if they want to upset Leinster in their own back yard this weekend.

Zebre coach has named an entirely new starting XV from the one that loss against Ulster last weekend with Erich Cronje and Luca Andreani set to make their debuts for the Italian side.

This is the first match on Saturday and it will be live on SuperSport at 14:00

Teams:

Leinster: Jimmy O’Brien, Adam Byrne, Jamie Osborne, Ciaran Frawley, Jordan Larmour, Harry Byrne, Luke McGrath (captain); Ed Byrne, Sean Cronin, Michael Ala’alatoa, Ryan Baird, Devin Toner, Dan Leavy, Scott Penny, Rhys Ruddock.

Replacements: Ronan Kelleher, Peter Dooley, Cian Healy, Ross Molony, Max Deegan, Nick McCarthy, Johnny Sexton, Rob Russell.

Zebre: Jacopo Trulla, Pierre Bruno, Erich Cronje, Enrico Lucchin, Mattia Bellini, Antonio Rizzi, Nicolo Casilio; Andrea Lovotti, Oliviero Fabiani (captain), Ion Neculai, Cristian Stoian, Andrea Zambonin, Iacopo Bianchi, Luca Andreani, Renato Giammarioli.

Replacements: Massimo Ceciliani, Danilo Fischetti, Matteo Nocera, David Sisi, Giovanni Licata, Guglielmo Palazzani, Tommaso Boni, Paolo Pescetto.

Connacht who comes off a great win over the Bulls last weekend will welcome the Dragons to their back yard. They will see last weeks match agains the Bulls as their starting point and will want to keep the moment specially at home this weekend against the Dragons.

This will be one hell of a match…

Teams:

Connacht: Ben O’Donnell, Tom Farrell, Tom Daly, Mack Hansen, Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; Matthew Burke, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, Oisin Dowling, Ultan Dillane, Cian Prendergast, Jarrad Butler (captain), Paul Boyle.

Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Jordan Duggan, Jack Aungier, Leva Fifita, Conor Oliver, Caolin Blade, Conor Fitzgerald, Sammy Arnold.

Dragons: Jordan Williams, Jonah Holmes, Jack Dixon, Aneurin Owen, Jordan Olowofela, Sam Davies, Rhodri Williams, Greg Bateman, Elliot Dee, Mesake Doge, Will Rowlands, Joe Maksymiw, Harrison Keddie (captain), Taine Basham, Aaron Wainwright.

Replacements: Taylor Davies, Aki Seiuli, Chris Coleman, Joe Davies, Ollie Griffiths, Gonzalo Bertranou, Josh Lewis, Adam Warren.

Current Standings:

UNITED RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP LOG

PosTeamPWLDPDBPPts
1440075420
2330065214
332109311
4220037210
531113310
63210-608
73210-1508
84121-517
94130-637
103120626
113120-1126
124130-3126
133210215
143120-2204
153120-4504
163030-4811

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