Do or die for SA teams in URC

Do or die for SA teams in URC

The Bulls and DHL Stormers will fly the South African flag in the United Rugby Championship quarter-finals against Benetton and the Glasgow Warriors respectively on Saturday, with semi-final berths be at stake as the competition reaches the knock-out stages.

The Bulls, who finished second on the log, will have the luxury of home ground advantage against the seventh-placed Benetton in Pretoria, where they will enter the match (at 15h30) with the extra incentive of knowing that a victory will see them host a semi-final.

The fifth-placed Stormers are in uncharted waters for their quarter-final against the fourth-placed Glasgow Warriors in Scotland – it’s the first time in seven playoff matches they will not be in action in Cape Town. This match kicks off at 20h35.


Both South African teams are in familiar territory as they attempt to advance to the top four. It’s the third season in a row since the start of the Vodacom URC that the teams from Pretoria and Cape Town have made the quarter-finals. The Stormers beat the Vodacom Bulls in the grand final in the 2021/2022 season, and last year the Capetonians were pipped by Munster in the final.

The newly crowned SA Shield winners, the Bulls, will enter their match against Benetton as overwhelming favourites with form and their passionate support base at their fortress, Loftus Versfeld, counting in their favour.

The team from Pretoria’s superior attacking statistics – their 85 regular season tries is a new URC record (note: Leinster scored 95 in the PRO14 in 2019) – will also boost their confidence, with 639 points scored (also the most in the league this season) to Benetton’s 411, while they will also draw comfort from the fact that they have only suffered one defeat at home this season.

Benetton, however, will enter the match with the mindset that they have nothing to lose, and the fact that they registered 11 victories to 13 by the Pretoria outfit in the round-robin stages, conceded only 33 points fewer in their 18 matches to date, and defeated the Hollywoodbets Sharks in South Africa last month, will encourage them immensely to create an upset.

Adding to this, the Italian side have a fair away-win record, showing four wins out of nine on the road, while two of their away defeats by very narrow margins.

Interestingly, these teams last met in Pretoria two rounds ago, where the Vodacom Bulls registered a 56-35 victory in a high-scoring match, which will set the scene for a gripping encounter.

Two seasons ago, the Bulls beat Benetton by 46-29 in Pretoria, and last year the men from Pretoria won 44-22 in Treviso, meaning their only defeat to the Italian club to date was in the Rainbow Cup final in June 2021.


At the Scotstoun Stadium in Glasgow, the DHL Stormers will enter their clash against Franco Smith’s Warriors as the underdogs – a tag they will be determined to shake off – mainly due to the fact they will be travelling after a hard-fought victory against the Emirates Lions last week, and with the hosts boasting a better attacking record this season.


Glasgow, however, will be careful to write off the Capetonians, who have been marginally better on defence. The DHL Stormers’ confidence will also be boosted since they bagged losing bonus points in three of their six overseas matches, and came away with victories against Connacht and the Dragons in their last two tour matches.

The Warriors, who topped the regular season stats for carries (2417), defenders beaten (458) and metres made (7846), will also be cognisant of the fact that in the last outing between the teams earlier this season in Glasgow, they won by 20-9 thanks to three tries – two of which were scored in the first half and one early in the second half – and there is no doubt the visitors would have placed a big emphasis on their defence during their preparations this week.

Making the match even more unpredictable, Glasgow only registered one more victory than the DHL Stormers this season, and given the high stakes in the match, it is expected to be humdinger.

In the other quarter-final clashes, log leaders and defending champions Munster will host Ospreys at Thomond Park on Friday and Leinster will meet Ulster in an intense Irish derby at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

The semi-finalists as well as the dates and times of the matches will confirmed following Saturday’s matches.

Vodacom URC quarter-final match information:


Vodacom Bulls v Benetton

Date: Saturday, 8 June

Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

Referee: Mike Adamson

SA Time: 15h30


Glasgow Warriors v DHL Stormers

Date: Saturday, 8 June

Venue: Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow

Referee: Chris Busby

SA Time: 20h35

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