Five Players to Watch in the URC this weekend

Five Players to Watch in the URC this weekend

Hacjivah Dayimani (DHL Stormers)

His surname means “diamond” in Zulu and the 25-year-old No 8 is certainly a jewel in the crown of the URC champions. He was inspired to take up rugby by watching Bryan Habana sparkle for the World Cup-winning Springboks in 2007 and he has the kind of pace that wouldn’t go amiss on the wing. His form has been exceptional of late, reflected by him picking up the Man of the Match award after last week’s 40-8 victory over the Emirates Lions in Cape Town, where he produced two try assists and made three clean breaks.

Containing his defence-splitting threat will be a real challenge for Glasgow at Scotstoun on Sunday afternoon.

Sam Lousi (Scarlets)

The Tongan international lock is one of the most skilful players in the URC, as demonstrated by him having produced more offloads (11) than any other forward. With his trademark penchant for carrying the ball in one hand, he is always looking to keep the attack alive and will pose a real threat to Cardiff at the Arms Park on Saturday, following on from his Player of the Match display in the victory over the Dragons last weekend.

Scarlets defence coach Gareth Williams says: “Sam has got so much ability to express himself and he sees the game so well. He also makes a real positive defensive impact and leads by example. He is an exceptional talent, but he has a good work ethic with it as well. You balance that with his understanding of the game and you get exciting performances.”

Jordan Larmour (Leinster)

There were two tries from the side-stepping winger amid a Player of the Match performance in the 41-12 victory over Connacht on New Year’s Day which had former Ireland star Jamie Heaslip singing his praises. “He’s X-Factor, he’s a bit of magic, he can create something out of nothing. He evades defenders and he makes people bite in and be unsure,” said Heaslip.

What’s also notable is Larmour’s willingness to roam and look for work. Speaking about this himself after the match, he said: “As wingers, you are always trying to look to get into the game. Sometimes games might get away from you and you might not get much ball. So it’s something we talk about, trying to work off the ball and pick up little lines here and there.”

The Ospreys are going to have to keep a close eye on the wandering wing at the Stadium on Saturday evening.

Sebastian Cancelliere (Glasgow Warriors)

The Argentine Test winger has now beaten more defenders (25) than any other player in the URC, while he has also made the third highest number of clean breaks (12) and is high up the offload chart with 11. So he will be a key attacking weapon when in-form Glasgow play hosts to the DHL Stormers at Scotstoun on Sunday afternoon.

Giving his thoughts on the Californian-born 29-year-old, head coach Franco Smith commented: “He’s very consistent. He is always up there. He’s a real threat with the ball in hand, a really rapid and elusive player, with various skill sets. He’s an instinctive player, but employs that well into our attack system, which makes him dangerous.”

Federico Ruzza (Benetton Rugby)

It’s been a big week for the Padua-born Italian international. On New Year’s Eve, he scored a hat-trick of tries in the 40-17 victory away to his former club Zebre, some achievement from the second row.

Then it was announced he has signed a new five-year contract, committing his future to Benetton until June 2028. He said he was “honoured, happy and proud” to continue his stay with the club, having grown as a person and as a player within a “great group”.

With 36 caps for Italy, he is now a seasoned Test campaigner and will be a vital figure in Saturday afternoon’s URC showdown with Ulster out in Treviso.

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