The Citizen (KZN)

Looking good in the URC

- with Jacques van der Westhuyzen

After a hugely successful weekend of United Rugby Championsh­ip action for the four South African teams, things are looking rosy ahead of the business end of the competitio­n.

The South African teams have generally done well in the URC, with the Stormers the champions two seasons back and also featuring in last season’s final, while the Bulls have also gone far in the competitio­n.

Both teams are again the mix for the play-offs in a few weeks’ time, while if things go their way the Lions, too, could find themselves in the quarter-final conversati­on.

Right now, the Bulls are second on the log, the Stormers are fifth and the Lions are eighth.

Perhaps this will finally be the season for the Bulls and their coach Jake White who look like a team that could go all the way. Getting home playoff matches though will be crucial and that’s why they simply have to keep on recording the wins.

The Stormers though should not be written off, as we’ve seen from past seasons. John Dobson and his men have what is called big-match temperamen­t and they, too, are good enough to go all the way.

It’s going to be tough for the Lions if they don’t make their way into the top four, but if they can produce consistent winning rugby from here on in, anything is possible.

Then there are the Sharks. They’ve had a miserable season so far, winning just twice in 12 matches, but their win at the weekend showed they may just have turned the corner… and the Bulls, Stormers and Lions will hope that is the case.

Because while John Plumtree’s men have no chance of making the play-offs, a strong finish and recording wins against some of the higher positioned teams will go a long way to helping the three other play-off chasing SA sides.

Their win against Ulster on Saturday was a biggie, and if they can also beat Glasgow, Edinburgh (this weekend) and Benetton, it’ll benefit the Bulls, Lions and Stormers.

Here’s hoping for a big finish to the league stage for the SA sides.

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa