The teams for this weekends Round 7 & 9 rescheduled fixtures of the United Rugby Championship have been named with all details of match officials and broadcast information below.
TEAM NEWS HEADLINES
Cyle Brink will make his first URC start for the Bulls
Scarlets make eight changes, one positional, from last weekend
Glasgow Warriors Murphy Walker will start his first professional match, the prop had been released from his first call-up to Scotland camp to join Johnny Matthews and Simon Berghan in the front-row
Capped trio Ben Vellacott, Jamie Hodgson and Magnus Bradbury all released from Scotland camp and named in Edinburgh’s match day squad
Emirates Lions inside centre Burger Odendaal will take over the captaincy reigns in the absence of injured Jaco Kriel
Damian de Allende, Shane Daly, Jack Crowley, John Ryan and John Hodnett come into Munster’s starting XV
Ntuthuko Mchunu will come into to start for Cell C Sharks replacing the injured Ox Nche
Simone Gesi and Tammaso Di Bartolomeo could make their Zebre Parma debut if called upon from the replacements
Captain Steven Kitshoff returns to DHL Stormers starting XV
Theo Cabango will make his United Rugby Championship debut for Cardiff Rugby on as six changes have been made to the match day squad
FRIDAY, MARCH 18
Vodacom Bulls v Scarlets
Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria – KO 17.10 IRE & UK / 18.10 ITA / 19.10 SA
Referee: Chris Busby (IRFU, 19th league game)
AR 1: Cwengile Jadezweni (SARU) AR 2: Griffon Colby (SARU)
TMO: Sam Grove-White (SRU)
Live on: SuperSport, BBC Wales, Premier Sport & URC TV.
The Vodacom Bulls have lost just one of their last five Vodacom United Rugby Championship games heading into Friday's clash against the Scarlets.
They have also been beaten on only two occasions in the tournament's history at Loftus Versfeld.
Scarlets have claimed a solitary win from their last four starts and they have yet to taste victory on their travels this term in any competition.
Their last away success in the championship came against Edinburgh 13 months ago but they have only lost twice to South African opposition.
Vodacom Bulls: Kurt-Lee Arendse, Canan Moodie, Cornal Hendricks, Harold Vorster, Madosh Tambwe, Chris Smith, Zak Burger; Gerhard Steenekamp, Johan Grobbelaar, Jacques van Rooyen, Walt Steenkamp, Ruan Nortje, Marcell Coetzee (CAPT), Cyle Brink, Elrigh Louw.
Replacements: Joe van Zyl, Simphiwe Matanzima, Robert Hunt, Reinhardt Ludwig, Arno Botha; Keagan Johannes, Morne Steyn, Lionel Mapoe.
Scarlets: Ioan Nicholas, Steff Evans, Johnny Williams, Scott Williams (CAPT), Ryan Conbeer; Rhys Patchell, Dane Blacker, Kemsley Mathias, Daf Hughes, Javan Sebastian, Sam Lousi, Jac Price, Aaron Singler, Tomas Lezana, Blade Thomson
Replacements: Shaun Evans, Rob Evans, Harri O’Connor, Morgan Jones, Sione Kalamafoni, Archie Hughes, Sam Costelow, Joe Roberts
Vodacom Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White said: “It has been a very busy week for us as a squad this week – playing three tough matches in a space of seven days in both the Vodacom URC and Carling Currie Cup. Management of our playing personnel has been key this week. As a result, we have made a total of 10 changes to the team that was on duty on Wednesday night against the Cell C Sharks in the Carling Currie Cup.”
“We have another tough match against a Scarlets team that has shown what a threat they can be I the Vodacom URC. We will need to be sharp and prepared to play an 80-minute game in what promises to be a highly competitive encounter.”
Scarlets Head Coach Dwayne Peel said: “The Bulls are obviously a quality side, a lot of internationals, a big physical pack. We talked last week that physicality is non-negotiable in South Africa, that is a starting point for us, they also have some fast backs who are clinical when they get opportunities. It is about matching that physicality, not kicking loosely and also being excited when we have the ball as well. We saw glimpses last week of some really good stuff when we have the ball, if we can finish a few of those off we will be happy.”
Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh Rugby
Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow – KO 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA
Referee: Hollie Davidson (SRU, 4th league game)
AR 1: Keith Allen (SRU) AR 2: Ian Kenny (SRU)
TMO: Neil Paterson (SRU)
Live on: Premier Sport, SuperSport & URC TV.
The history of meetings between Glasgow and Edinburgh shows how close their rivalry is.
Glasgow lead the overall series 22-19 on victories, with one draw, while the teams are currently level on 39 points in the United Rugby Championship.
Glasgow's five-game winning run in the competition came to a halt with defeat against the Scarlets earlier this month but they have only suffered one home defeat in the tournament during the past 12 months.
Edinburgh have lost their last three URC away matches and have not been defeated four times on the bounce since 2018. On 10 previous visits to Scotstoun, they have won just twice.
Glasgow Warriors: Josh McKay, Sebastian Cancelliere, Robbie Fergusson, Stafford McDowall, Cole Forbes; Duncan Weir, Jamie Dobie, Murphy Walker, Johnny Matthews, Simon Berghan, Scott Cummings, Richie Gray, Ryan Wilson (CAPT), Thomas Gordon, Jack Dempsey
Replacements: Grant Stewart, Nathan McBeth, Ewan McQuillin, Kiran McDonald, Ally Miller, Jordan Lenac, Ross Thompson, Sione Tuipulotu
Edinburgh Rugby: Henry Immelman, Ramiro Moyano, Matt Currie, Chris Dean, Emiliano Boffelli, Jaco van der Walt, Henry Pyrgos (CAPT), Harrison Courtney, Dave Cherry, Angus Williams, Pierce Phillips, Glen Young, Ben Muncaster, Connor Boyle, Mesulame Kunavula
Replacements: Adam McBurney, Boan Venter,. Luan de Bruin, Jamie Hodgson, Magnus Bradbury, Ben Vellacott, Charlie Savala, Cammy Hutchison
Glasgow Warriors Head Coach Danny Wilson said: “Edinburgh had a good win against Connacht two weeks ago and they’re a side who are playing a good brand of rugby and scoring a lot of tries. After a tough away game to Scarlets, we're looking forward to being back at Scotstoun in front of a sold-out crowd and bouncing back with an improved performance. We've had a good week of training and were pleased to welcome back some of our Scotland players towards the end of the week. Both sides are tied on points in the league. Tomorrow’s game and the remaining league games are going to have a big bearing on league position and qualification for both Europe and the URC play-offs.”
Edinburgh Rugby Head Coach Mike Blair said: “We’ve spoken this week about how important this game is for the club. Firstly, in terms of the 1872 Cup – it’s an opportunity for silverware – but also in terms of the league. It’s incredibly tight between ourselves and Glasgow and we want to keep momentum going heading into the business end of the season.
“We’ve also talked about the emotion of the game. There is a huge amount of history in this fixture, so it’s important our players let that emotion drive them and motivate them. At the same time, we’ve got to stay cool under pressure, as we’ll be playing away from home in front of a really passionate crowd.
“We’ve had a great week of training and preparation and we’re delighted to see some of our younger guys get an opportunity to play in such
SATURDAY, MARCH 19
Emirates Lions v Munster
Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg – KO 12.00 IRE & UK / 13.00 ITA / 14.00 SA
Referee: Adam Jones (WRU, 17th league game)
AR 1: Cwengile Jadezweni (SARU) AR 2: Paul Mente (SARU)
TMO: Chris Busby (IRFU)
Live on: SuperSport, RTÉ, Premier Sports & URC TV.
Emirates Lions have been cut adrift at the bottom of the South African Shield but they host Munster in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship on the back of a solid victory over Cardiff last time out.
The Lions have faced Irish opposition only on two previous occasions, losing each time against Ulster and Leinster.
Munster arrive in Johannesburg having lost their last two away fixtures - against Glasgow and the Vodacom Bulls - and it is more than three years since they suffered a hat-trick of reversals on the road.
When it comes to facing South African opponents, Munster can reflect on just two defeats from 12 starts, although they were both in South Africa.
Emirates Lions: Quan Horn, Stean Pienaar, Wandisile Simelane, Burger Odendaal (CAPT), Edwill van der Merwe, Jordan Hendrikse, Morne van den Berg, Sithembiso Sithole, Jaco Visagie, Carlu Sadie, Ruben Schoeman, Reinhard Nothnagel, Sibusiso Sangweni, Vincent Tshituka, Francke Horn
Replacements: PJ Botha, JP Smith, Ruan Dreyer, Ruan Venter, Emmanuel Tshituka, Nico Steyn, Manuel Rass, Tiaan Swanepoel
Munster: Mike Haley, Calvin Nash, Chris Farrell, Damian de Allende, Shane Daly, Jack Crowley, Neil Cronin, Josh Wycherley, Niall Scannell, John Ryan, Jean Kleyn, Fineen Wycherley; Jack O’Donoghue (CAPT), John Hodnett, Alex Kendellen.
Replacements: Scott Buckley, Mark Donnelly, Keynan Knox, Eoin O’Connor, Chris Cloete, Paddy Patterson, Ben Healy, Liam Coombes.
Emirates Lions Head Coach Ivan van Rooyen said: “It’s sad to lose Jaco to injury. He underwent surgery on his arm yesterday, so he’ll be sidelined for an extended period. We wish him a successful recovery. Last week’s win was a real confidence booster for us however we are not getting ahead of ourselves. The hard work continues and the intent to improve each week remains our theme. Munster are a fantastic side and have an impeccable record in this competition. Ours will be to ensure we play to our strengths and execute the things we spoke about in the week effectively."
Cell C Sharks v Zebre Parma
Hollywoodbets Kings Park, Durban – KO 16.30 IRE & UK / 17.30 ITA / 18.30 SA
Referee: Ben Whitehouse (WRU, 82nd league game)
AR 1: Marius van der Westhuizen (SARU) AR 2: Morné Ferreira (SARU)
TMO: Quinton Immelman (SARU)
Live on: SuperSport, Mediaset, Premier Sports & URC TV
Cell C Sharks currently head the South African Shield, two points above the DHL Stormers and four clear of the Vodacom Bulls.
Their defeat against the Stormers was their solitary reversal in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship across the last seven games.
Zebre Parma are still searching for a first victory in the competition this season and have not recorded a win since beating the Dragons more than a year ago.
Although they have lost all three fixtures against South African opponents this term, their history shows two wins against the Southern Kings and one against the Cheetahs.
Cell C Sharks: Aphelele Fassi, Werner Kok, Ben Tapuai, Marius Louw, Makazole Mapimpi, Curwin Bosch, Grant Williams, Ntuthuko Mchunu, Bongi Mbonambi, Thomas du Toit, Gerbrandt Grobler, Reniel Hugo, Siya Kolisi (CAPT), Henco Venter, Sikhumbuzo Notshe
Replacements: Kerron van Vuuren, Khwezi Mona, Khutha Mchunu, Le Roux Roets, Phepsi Buthelezi, Jaden Hendrikse, Boeta Chamberlain, Jeremy Ward
Zebre Parma: Michelangelo Biondelli, Jacopo Trulla, Erich Cronjé, Timothy O’Malley, Simone Gesi, Antonio Rizzi, Nicolò Casilio, Andrea Lovotti, Massimo Ceciliani, Ion Neculai, Potu Junior Leavasa, Liam Mitchell, Luca Andreani, Iacopo Bianchi, Renato Giammarioli
Replacements: Tommaso Di Bartolomeo, Juan Pitinari, Eduardo Bello, Andrea Zambonin, Maxime Mbandà, Guglielmo Palazzani, Carlo Canna, Giulio Bisegni
Cell C Sharks Head Coach Sean Everitt said: “Like any international competition, no team can be taken lightly. In this competition, no-one can be taken lightly, we saw that when the Scarlets put 35 points over Glasgow who are in the top three of the competition.
“Zebre are an unpredictable side that kick the ball really well, and although they haven’t done that well on the log, they gave the Vodacom Bulls a good go for the first 40 minutes before the Bulls’ power game dominated them.
“But our focus is on our own performance at the moment, taking it week by week and we know that we need to get better and put in a better performance as a whole for 80 minutes.”
SUNDAY, MARCH 20
DHL Stormers v Cardiff Rugby
DHL Stadium, Cape Town – KO 12.00 IRE & UK / 13.00 ITA / 14.00 SA
Referee: Sam Grove-White (SRU, 21st league game)
AR 1: Marius van der Westhuizen (SARU) AR 2: Morné Ferreira (SARU)
TMO: Adam Jones (WRU)
Live on: SuperSport, S4C, Primer Sports & URC TV.
The DHL Stormers are in fine form, with a solitary defeat from their last six Vodacom United Rugby Championship encounters.
They are also chasing a third successive home victory for the first time since they achieved it in the 2020 Super Rugby season.
Cardiff have suffered two successive defeats in the competition and they have not lost three on the trot for two years.
The Welsh side have played five previous URC games in South Africa, gaining two victories - both against the Southern Kings.
DHL Stormers: Warrick Gelant, Seabelo Senatla, Ruhan Nel, Damian Willemse, Leolin Zas, Manie Libbok, Herschel Jantjies, Steven Kitshoff (CAPT), Scarra Ntubeni, Brok Harris, Adre Smith, Marvin Orie, Deon Fourie, Hacjivah Dayimani, Evan Roos
Replacements: Chad Solomon, Ali Vermaak, Neethling Fouche, Ernst van Rhyn, Junior Pokomela, Paul de Wet, Tim Swiel, Rikus Pretorius
Cardiff Rugby: Matthew Morgan; Jason Harries, Max Llewellyn, Ben Thomas, Theo Cabango; Jarrod Evans, Lloyd Williams; Corey Domachowski, Kristian Dacey, Dmitri Arhip, Matthew Screech, Rory Thornton, Josh Turnbull (CAPT.), Ellis Jenkins, James Botham
Replacements: Keiron Assiratti, Brad Thyer, Will Davies-King, Teddy Williams, Will Boyde, Ellis Bevan, Garyn Smith, Hallam Amos
DHL Stormers Head Coach John Dobson said: “We have managed to keep some continuity in our team this week which is pleasing. We know that we can improve in many areas and we will have to be sharp as ever to get the result we need on Sunday.”
Cardiff Rugby Director of Rugby Dai Young said: “The initial thing for us with the younger players was to bring these guys out, not necessarily for experience. We knew, with one or two injuries, that these guys could figure, and that’s the case with Theo. You can see, week-on-week, that they’re developing and getting more experience. They’re playing at that level, and they don’t look out of place at all at our level. We’re determined, between now and the end of the season, to give them some game-time.”
“The tempo and physicality of their game will be a real test for us. Set piece will always be a challenge. We’ve obviously got to win collisions early doors in phases and make sure they’re playing off slow-ish ball. That will give us the chance to halt their go-forward. For me, it’s all about the gain line, physicality and winning collisions. If they get quick ball it could be a long night for us."