After cancellations last weekend, teh South African sides will play local derbies this weekend and it all start in Durban on Friday night with the Sharks hosting the Bulls. The Stormers will host the Lions in Cape Town on Saturday with the European teams also playing each other over the weekend.
Here is the current log standings:
UNITED RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP LOG
|12||Cell C Sharks||5||2||3||0||9|
This weekend will be important for the SA teams who needs some much needed wins behind their names to get off the bottom of the log. The saving grace at the moment is that they have some games in hand but looking at the log it does not look good at the moment for them.
The Sharks have struggled in the last two years to beat the Bulls and it looks like they have given them the best chance yet thsi Friday to get one over the Bulls after their coach Seasn Everitte has selected most of his Springboks for this one incuding the Springbok captain Sita Kolisi.
Kolisi as with many of his Springbok team mates will make their URC debuts this weekend having been part of the Springbok group since June thsi year. In total eight more Springboks will make their debuts this for the Sharks on Friday. The team will be led by Luhanyo Am and Bongi Mbonambi who will also make his debut for his new franchise as well.
This was suppose to have been Round 12 matches which was brought forward due to the postponement of Round 6 and 7 matches which was supposed to have been played in South Africa.
For both sides it will be only their second win for the one who comes out on top on Friday. The Sharks only win in Europe was against Ospreys and teh Bulls one came against Cardiff. Although the Sharks have not win much against the Bulls in the last year they do have the braging rights from their last meeting at Durban when they beat the men in blue 35-28 in the Currie Cup.
Jake White said earlier in the week that this will be a massive challenge for his team with so many internationals back in teh Sharks squad this weekend but it is a challenge they will happy except.
At tehh back the Sharks will have Volmink, Nkosi and Mapimpi as their back three with Am and Ward in the midfield. Am will take the number twelve jumper for this one but with so much talent in the Springbok blood one can not think it will make any difference.
Chamberlain will take the number ten jumper with Ruan Pienaar at nine next to him.
In the pack Buthelezi will be at number eight with Kolis and Jeandre Labuschagne completing the loose trio. In teh second row the Sharks will have Van Heerden and Andrews with Du Toit, Mbonambi and Mchunu starting as the front row.
On teh bench the Sharks have qaulity players as well in Van Vuuren, Adriaanse, Hugo, Venter and Kok who will make their impact felt later in the match.
White did make a few changes from his side that last played in the URC as we see Arendse at fullback and Tambwe and Kriel joining him at the back. In the midfield White went with David Kriel and Hendricks with Morne Steyn back at ten. His halfback partner for this weekend will be Papier.
In the pack we see Louw at eight, Botha and Coetzee on the side of the scrum and Nortje and Steenkamp in the second row. The starting front row for the Bulls will be Robert Hunt, Bismarck Du Plessis and Gerhard Steenkamp.
On the bench the Bulls will be able to call upon guys like Johan Grobberlaar, Lizo Gqoboka, Jacques du Plessis and Herald Vorster.
On paper the Sharks should take this one but we know all too good that what you see on paper does not always play out on the field so expect again a massive clash.
Cell C Sharks: Anthony Volmink, Sbu Nkosi, Jeremy Ward, Lukhanyo Am (capt), Makazole Mapimpi, Boeta Chamberlain, Ruan Pienaar; Ntuthuko Mchunu, Bongi Mbonambi, Thomas du Toit, Ruben van Heerden, Hyron Andrews, Siya Kolisi, Jeandre Labuschagne, Phepsi Buthelezi.
Replacements: Kerron van Vuuren, Khwezi Mona, Lourens Adriaanse, Reniel Hugo, Henco Venter, Sanele Nohamba, Tito Bonilla, Werner Kok.
Vodacom Bulls: Kurt-Lee Arendse, Madosh Tambwe, David Kriel, Cornal Hendricks, Richard Kriel, Morné Steyn, Embrose Papier; Gerhard Steenekamp, Bismarck du Plessis, Robert Hunt, Walt Steenkamp, Ruan Nortje, Marcell Coetzee (CAPT), Arno Botha, Elrigh Louw.
Replacements: Johan Grobbelaar, Simphiwe Matanzima, Lizo Gqoboka, Jacques du Plessis, Sintu Manjezi, Zak Burger, Chris Smith, Harold Vorster
Edinburgh will be looking to build on their four wins so far this season but they will come up against a Benetton side who has been a stubbern side for many sides so far this season, so they can not take thsi Italian side lightly.
Ediburgh is third on teh log currently with Benetton in 9th place but they will be wary of the late win they got against Glasgow. One thing that the Scots will take at heart is that they have not yet loss a game at DAM Health Stadium and they will want to keep it that way this Friday night.
Benetton has a good record against Scottish sides having won their last three matches against them and have not loss against Edinburgh sine 2018.
It will be a big day for Magnus Bradbury who will run out in his 100th match for the home side.
Edinburgh coach, Mike Blair said that they know the Italian side is a good side and expect a massive clash on Friday. It is always hard, even at home, against a side that believe they can beat you and they certainly can.
Edinburgh will have Boffelli, Graham and Hoyland as their back three which on paper looks impressive. In the midfield Matt Currie will partner Jame sLang with Kinghorn at ten and Vellacott his halfback partner.
In the pack the home side will have Mata at number eight with Watson and Bradbury on the side of the scrum. In the second row Gilchrist and Hodgson will partner up with WP Nel, Dave Curry and Boan Venter starting in teh front row.
Benetton will start with Zani, Faiva and Pasquali in teh front row and Russa and Cannone just behind them in the second row. Duvenage will tale the the captains armband again at nine and he will have the impressive Leonardo Marin next to him at ten.
In the midfield Menoncello and Brex will partner for this one and Ioane, Tavuyara and Rhyno Smith the back three.
Edinburgh: 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Matt Currie, 12 James Lang, 11 Damien Hoyland, 10 Blair Kinghorn, 9 Ben Vellacott, 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Magnus Bradbury, 5 Grant Gilchrist (captain), 4 Jamie Hodgson, 3 WP Nel, 2 Dave Cherry, 1 Boan Venter.
Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Pierre Schoeman, 18 Lee-Roy Atalifo, 19 Marshall Sykes, 20 Jamie Ritchie, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Charlie Savala, 23 Mark Bennett.
Benetton: 15 Rhyno Smith, 14 Ratuva Tavuyara, 13 Ignacio Brex, 12 Tommaso Menoncello, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Leonardo Marin, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage (captain), 8 Toa Halafihi, 7 Michele Lamaro, 6 Giovanni Pettinelli, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Niccolò Cannone, 3 Tiziano Pasquali, 2 Hame Faiva, 1 Federico Zani.
Replacements: 16 Gianmarco Lucchesi, 17 Thomas Gallo, 18 Ivan Nemer, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Manuel Zuliani, 21 Alessandro Garbisi, 22 Joaquin Riera, 23 Edoardo Padovani.
Leinster will want to put the wrongs from last week right this week when they host Connacht on Friday night. They loss against Ulster last weekend in Round 6 after being outplayed in the match.
It will not be easy though as Connacht has a great win last weekend over Ospreys and they will be coming to Dublin with their tails up to come and upset the champions.
Last weekend loss against Ulster was Leinster first of the season and they have never loss back to back at home which just tells you that they will be coming out full trottle on Friday night. Leinster still sits on top of the overall log with Connacht in sixth place, 8 log points behind.
For the home side Keenan will take the numebr fifteen jumper wih Larmour and Lowe on the wings. In the midfield we have Ringrose and Henshaw which just shout out qaulity. At ten Harry Byrne will start with Luke McGrath next to him at nine.
In the pack Alaalatoa, Sheehan and Healy start in the front row with Toner and Baird behind them. DOris, van der Flier and Ruddock will be the loose trio for the home side.
Connacht will have Burke, Heffernan and Bealham in the front row with Dillane and Dowling in the second row. Butler, Oliver and Masterson will have their work cut out as the loose trio for the visitors.
In the back Marmion will take the number nine jumper with Carty at ten also leadin the side this weekend. In the midfield Robb and Arnold will partner up with McNulty, Wootton and Hansen as they back three for the weekend.
Leinster: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Jordan Larmour, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 James Lowe, 10 Harry Byrne, 9 Luke McGrath (captain), 8 Caelan Doris, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Ryan Baird, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Rónan Kelleher, 17 Andrew Porter, 18 Vakh Abdaladze, 19 Josh Murphy, 20 Max Deegan, 21 Nick McCarthy, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Tommy O’Brien.
Connacht: 15 Oran McNulty, 14 Alex Wootton, 13 Sammy Arnold, 12 Peter Robb, 11 Mack Hansen, 10 Jack Carty (captain), 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Jarrad Butler, 7 Conor Oliver, 6 Eoghan Masterson, 5 Ultan Dillane, 4 Oisín Dowling, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Dave Heffernan, 1 Matthew Burke.
Replacements: 16 Shane Delahunt, 17 Jordan Duggan, 18 Jack Aungier, 19 Leva Fifita, 20 Cian Prendergast, 21 Caolin Blade, 22 Conor Fitzgerald, 23 Tom Farrell.