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URC Non round fixtures wrap up

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doctor_grey
Hazel Sapling
mikey_dragon
PhilBB
geoff999rugby
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Post by neilthom7 Fri 21 Jan 2022, 19:48

This is a thread to cover off the URC games that are coming up over the next few months that were delayed etc from their regular round slot.  Starting with this weekend South African Derbies.

All games on Premier Sport, URC tv and Supersport.  Kick off Times UK and Irish time.

Friday 06/05/2022

Cardiff v Zebre- Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff – KO 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA & SA- BBC Wales and Mediaset

Sunday 08/05/2022

Ospreys v Dragons- Swansea.com Stadium, Swansea – KO 15.00 IRE & UK / 16.00 ITA & SA


Last edited by neilthom7 on Fri 06 May 2022, 19:59; edited 34 times in total

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Post by neilthom7 Sat 22 Jan 2022, 15:15

Sharks beat Lions 47-37. Bulls v Stormers filling the gap between the Champions Cup matches today for us..

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Post by neilthom7 Sat 22 Jan 2022, 16:42

Tech issues means there is no TMO at the moment in Bulls game, Peyper having to make all the decisions on field, sort of refreshing actually.

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Post by neilthom7 Sat 22 Jan 2022, 17:10

TV feed dropped out but Stormers beat Bulls 30-26

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Post by Brendan Sat 22 Jan 2022, 20:05

neilthom7 wrote:Tech issues means there is no TMO at the moment in Bulls game, Peyper having to make all the decisions on field, sort of refreshing actually.
I think it would be good if it was like that more with the TMO just coming in to say that call should be reviewed because of x here is the shot.

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Post by Brendan Sat 22 Jan 2022, 20:12

Bulls carry on their poor URC form and are now looking cut off from others like Zebre and Dragons.  All but Dragon have played 6 in the bottom half so Sharks in a good position with their Boks backs and only having played 1 game at home.

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Post by Brendan Sat 22 Jan 2022, 20:21

Looking at the table Connacht, Benetton and Ospreys will probably be passed by Sharks and maybe Scarlets (If they don't implode) once the games even out a bit

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Post by neilthom7 Sat 22 Jan 2022, 20:47

Brendan wrote:
neilthom7 wrote:Tech issues means there is no TMO at the moment in Bulls game, Peyper having to make all the decisions on field, sort of refreshing actually.
I think it would be good if it was like that more with the TMO just coming in to say that call should be reviewed because of x here is the shot.

Indeed I have to admit it was refreshing to not have the referee refer every little thing, although it was definitely missed for an incident that ended with a yellow card where they could really have used the TMO to have a look at it properly  

Bulls fought back in second half but gave themselves too much to do by a really poor first half.  They perhaps suffered more from the long lay off.  Sadly I cant really say much after 60 mins as the feed kept cutting out for long periods then went down fully, presumably the same issues that affected the TMO etc


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Post by Old Man Sat 22 Jan 2022, 21:22

I still maintain Jake White can build/buy a team, but can't coach.

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Post by neilthom7 Sat 22 Jan 2022, 21:39

Could be right Old Man, they were very poor in that first half for sure. I'll be interested to see how they go in the next few weeks.

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Post by Welshmushroom Mon 24 Jan 2022, 10:48

Probably safe to say the season is over for Bulls. They needed to win all their home games to have a realistic chance of making the top 8 for the URC play offs.

Lions probably have a bit to much to do now as well. They only have 4 away games though and one of those is against the Bulls so not totally out of reach for them.

Sharks and Stormers both look in a great position to make the last 8 now though. Sharks have 8 home games with 4 away (2 of those against S.African opposition). If they can win their home games they will make the top 8.

Stormers also have a similar fixture list as well (8 home games & 4 away - 2 against SA opposition). The other one is is against the Scarlets which given how dire welsh sides are at the moment is also not out of reach for them.

From a welsh perspective it's not looking good for our sides. Hard to see where remaining points will come for the Scarlets. 5 Home games left and one is against the Dragons. Can see them losing away to Ulster, Sharks, Ospreys, Cardiff. If the Stormers and Sharks win all their remaining home games they will need to pick up at least 2 away wins to qualify, which only the Dragons match looks possible.

Dragons and Cardiff are pretty much done.

Ospreys will need to win all 5 home games and probably one away. Tough ask in itself as Edinburgh this week is a must win game now. They will also need to beat either Cardiff or Lions away.

Could be the first year no welsh sides places higher than 9th. Given some of those wage budgets that is dire. Both Scarlets and Ospreys pay more than 80% of the league. No excuse for it really.

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Post by Brendan Tue 25 Jan 2022, 00:19

Still plenty twists and turns.  Welsh teams face the usual issues with Wales Camp and who knows how much ground they need to make up once the 6 mentions finish.

One of the things Europe shows is who is able to find ways to win or lose.  Scarlets (mainly) and Ospreys did poorly and left without landing a punch.  Glasgow, Cardiff and Connacht gave good accounts but ultimately will feel they should have done better.

I am sure that the SA teams will have seen that they can power over everyone except Edinburgh, Ulster, Munster and Leinster.  Sharks you would feel has the beating of everyone else up front and in the backs

Feel one of the Welsh teams will make the playoffs as will Glasgow (who have played Leinster, Ulster and Sharkes).

That last spot will be decieded on the last day of the season.

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Post by geoff999rugby Tue 25 Jan 2022, 10:47

Ulster, Leinster, Munster, Edinburgh and Glasgow will be there
Sharks and Stormers could well come good.

That leaves Scarlets, Osprey, Connacht and Treviso fitting for the last spot I reckon

Many commentators were saying the Bulls were the best SA side - from what I have seen they are the worst

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Post by neilthom7 Wed 02 Feb 2022, 12:28

3 games this weekend, 2 South African derbies and an Irish derby

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Post by neilthom7 Sat 05 Feb 2022, 10:55

Ulster with a good win last night v Connacht, squeezing out the bonus point right at the end. Baloucoune and Lowry both putting their hands up to show Ireland what they can do

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Post by geoff999rugby Sat 05 Feb 2022, 12:06

Watched the Stormers and Sharks game last week - I thought the rugby was poor.
Far too many mistakes.

They will have to play far better than that to have 2 South African teams in the top 8.
The Ospreys Edinburgh game was a far higher standard

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Post by neilthom7 Wed 09 Feb 2022, 13:23

4 more games this weekend to keep us entertained around the 6 nations games. 2 Ireland v Scotland ties and some more South African derbies too.

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Post by neilthom7 Fri 11 Feb 2022, 20:25

Leinster beat Edinburgh and get the bonus point to move into second with a game in hand, Glasgow beat Munster as well to move third

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Post by neilthom7 Sat 12 Feb 2022, 15:00

Stormers bonus point win today moves them into top 8

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Post by neilthom7 Wed 23 Feb 2022, 13:21

4 games this weekend as the South African sides start to catch up on the games they have missed. Excellent time for the Lions, Stormers and Sharks to be playins Leinster, Connacht and Bennetton with all their internationals missing.

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Post by Brendan Wed 23 Feb 2022, 19:14

Will Benetton lose their first game to an SA side. I think this week must be the week.

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Post by PhilBB Wed 23 Feb 2022, 20:25

Brendan wrote:Will Benetton lose their first game to an SA side.  I think this week must be the week.

November 24th, 2018.

Cheetahs 31 v Benetton 25

https://www.ultimaterugby.com/match/cheetahs-vs-benetton-rugby-at-free-state-stadium-24th-nov-2018/79266

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Post by neilthom7 Fri 25 Feb 2022, 20:42

Bulls absolutely hammer Zebre in Italy 45-7 and Leinster win in Dublin v Lions, no bonus point for them 21-13.

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Post by Brendan Fri 25 Feb 2022, 22:38

PhilBB wrote:
Brendan wrote:Will Benetton lose their first game to an SA side.  I think this week must be the week.

November 24th, 2018.

Cheetahs 31 v Benetton 25

https://www.ultimaterugby.com/match/cheetahs-vs-benetton-rugby-at-free-state-stadium-24th-nov-2018/79266


Have you not got the media updates. We don't count the Cheetahs and Kings, it's like it never happened.

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Post by neilthom7 Sat 26 Feb 2022, 15:12

Connacht just about scrape a win in Galway v Stormers 19-17 and then Sharks cruise past Benetton 29-7

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Post by Brendan Sat 26 Feb 2022, 17:10

neilthom7 wrote:Connacht just about scrape a win in Galway v Stormers 19-17 and then Sharks cruise past Benetton 29-7

That was a big win for Connacht and the second big result in a row. Puts them firmly back in the playoffs.

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Post by neilthom7 Sat 26 Feb 2022, 17:27

The next month will be a really crucial time in the league as those teams who missed games start to make them up and balance out the table.

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Post by neilthom7 Wed 09 Mar 2022, 10:38

5 more games this weekend in an effort to catch up on games missed. Ulster v Leinster is a top of the table clash and also 4 games in South Africa as well

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Post by Old Man Fri 11 Mar 2022, 17:07

Where is the benefit for SA teams when they host European teams with European referees?

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Post by mikey_dragon Fri 11 Mar 2022, 18:02

Old Man wrote:Where is the benefit for SA teams when they host European teams with European referees?

Yeah, they even disallowed a good try.

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Post by Old Man Fri 11 Mar 2022, 19:13

mikey_dragon wrote:
Old Man wrote:Where is the benefit for SA teams when they host European teams with European referees?

Yeah, they even disallowed a good try.

Not really getting the point, are you?

When kur teams play in Europe we have to adapt to European referee interpretations, we should have the same benefit in SAwhen we host, European teams adapting to our referees.

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Post by Hazel Sapling Sun 13 Mar 2022, 15:12

I thought we were trying to move away from having domestic refs (e.g., SRU refs reffing Scots games, IRFU for Irish, etc.)? As such, SA refs should be doing non-SA games.

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Post by Old Man Sun 13 Mar 2022, 16:21

Agreed, but then all matches must have neutral referees

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Post by doctor_grey Sun 13 Mar 2022, 17:33

Old Man wrote:Agreed, but then all matches must have neutral referees
For me, I really don't care where the referee comes from as long as performances are professionally executed. And I think most referees do make an honest effort to get things right. Plus performances are reviewed. We are a long way from the days of Steve Walsh.

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Post by Old Man Sun 13 Mar 2022, 17:46

doctor_grey wrote:
Old Man wrote:Agreed, but then all matches must have neutral referees
For me, I really don't care where the referee comes from as long as performances are professionally executed.  And I think most referees do make an honest effort to get things right.  Plus performances are reviewed.  We are a long way from the days of Steve Walsh.  

I would agree with you on that, however the SA teams struggled heavily in Europe at the start of their campaigns due to interpretation of breakdown laws. This weekend the four teams playing in SA had no trouble with that as they all had European referees.

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Post by doctor_grey Sun 13 Mar 2022, 18:01

Old Man wrote:
doctor_grey wrote:
Old Man wrote:Agreed, but then all matches must have neutral referees
For me, I really don't care where the referee comes from as long as performances are professionally executed.  And I think most referees do make an honest effort to get things right.  Plus performances are reviewed.  We are a long way from the days of Steve Walsh.  

I would agree with you on that, however the SA teams struggled heavily in Europe at the start of their campaigns due to interpretation of breakdown laws. This weekend the four teams playing in SA had no trouble with that as they all had European referees.
I get your point and that does seem unfair to a degree. Again, just personally, I would have no issue playing in SA with local referees, just the same as for any team playing on the road anywhere else. But it has been an issue, of varying degrees, for a long time. I wonder if, going forwards, SA referees can be part of a mixed officiating team with UK and/or European referees (yes, I am being pedantic, but just for fun) working games together to ultimately harmonise interpretations between all groups.

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Post by Old Man Sun 13 Mar 2022, 18:36

I am sure the SA referees will be integrated to team with European referees, that is the only way to make sense of it

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Post by Guest Sun 13 Mar 2022, 22:01

Old Man wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:
Old Man wrote:Where is the benefit for SA teams when they host European teams with European referees?

Yeah, they even disallowed a good try.

Not really getting the point, are you?

When kur teams play in Europe we have to adapt to European referee interpretations, we should have the same benefit in SAwhen we host, European teams adapting to our referees.

Am I reading this right? You know ‘Europe’ is not a country, right?! So you get neutral refs when you travel north but you want home SA refs when you’re at home? Or are you suggesting perhaps NZ or Oz refs when at home? If so, that could work I guess. Maybe refs from other African nations too, if you like.

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Post by Old Man Mon 14 Mar 2022, 06:37

The Oracle wrote:
Old Man wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:
Old Man wrote:Where is the benefit for SA teams when they host European teams with European referees?

Yeah, they even disallowed a good try.

Not really getting the point, are you?

When kur teams play in Europe we have to adapt to European referee interpretations, we should have the same benefit in SAwhen we host, European teams adapting to our referees.

Am I reading this right? You know ‘Europe’ is not a country, right?! So you get neutral refs when you travel north but you want home SA refs when you’re at home? Or are you suggesting perhaps NZ or Oz refs when at home? If so, that could work I guess. Maybe refs from other African nations too, if you like.

OK, I'll bite, the European (or for those who want to have clarification) referees have officiated in the collective, as in the Pro14 and Champions Cup for their whole careers, which would suggest they all interpret breakdown laws in a similar fashion. Where as the South African referees have not.

Thus the SA teams were at a distinct disadvantage at the beginning of their first season having European referees officiate over them

I would have thought that to be common sense.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 14 Mar 2022, 08:03

Refs from the same country differ to interpretation on breakdowns. Overall a good point though and one that I'd hoped that world rugby would look harder at in increasing consistency. Let's face it so difficult to do though given the amount to look at.

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Post by Welshmushroom Mon 14 Mar 2022, 09:40

Another good weekend for S.Africa sides. Ulster and Leinster probably look good for a home quarter final at this point but aside from those 2 its looking like a real dog fight in behind them.

South African sides really pushing now and with so many home games for them left they could easily go on a winning run to but pressure on the others.

The Munster, Glasgow & Edinburgh battle for 3rd and 4th is a real tasty prospect. I could possibly even see the Sharks mounting a challenge to a top 4 spot.

As for the top 8 it's all very close. Aside from the 5 mentioned above with only 3 spots remaining its anyone guess at this point who will be the remaining 3. Connacht will need a miracle now to make a top 8 spot now they have played 1-2 more games than the others and are at 9th. 3 Away toes with Leinster at home first up could be to much for them.

Ospreys will need to make sure of the 3 home games if they are planning on a top 8 finish. The Bulls at home could end up being a real big match by the end of the season.

Sharks and Stormers for me will make the top 8 if they win the majority of home games now which at season start I didn't see coming if I am honest.

Was another dire weekend for Welsh rugby though. At this point they can't even make the funding argument as over half the sides finishing above them have way smaller playing budgets than them.


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Post by Hazel Sapling Mon 14 Mar 2022, 10:17

Could easily see three SA sides in the top 8.

I would say Sharks look to be favourites for a top 4 spot. Six of the remaining seven league games at home, all bar one to European opposition. Edinburgh and Leinster are the tough games but the Leinster game may be the week between Champions Cup fixtures and could mean a shadow Leinster side is sent (admittedly still tough).

The Scots sides have a tough run in with two derby games and the two SA away games to come. The other two games include Zebre (home) for both, Cardiff (away) for Glasgow and Ulster (home) for Edinburgh. Either both will finish around that 5th/6th spot or one will get a home quarter whilst the other may fall to the edge of the playoffs (and maybe out of the Champions Cup spots).

O's look to be favourites over Scarlets, however looking at the close of the season you got to feel that Scarlets could have a serious go of it. Eight points behind with two games in hand (Bulls and Cardiff away) and O's to go on a SA tour where they could realistically end with nothing. That penultimate match between the two could be the decider for the Champions Cup spot.

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Post by Old Man Mon 14 Mar 2022, 11:21

If two SA sides make the Quarters it will be deemed satisfactory, though a top four spot would be required to make the Home fans believe.

Three in the top eight would exceed anyone's expectations in their first season, considering budgets, covid issues etc.

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Post by Welshmushroom Mon 14 Mar 2022, 12:00

Yeah 3 in the top eight for SA would be immense considering where they started at. I still think the Bulls have to much to do at this point. They haven't been great away and that Ospreys away fixture could be the difference of a top 8 spot.

I still think Ospreys have enough to finish top 8 but there is no doubt it will be a real tight run in for all the teams involved.

The way the Scarlets are playing at the moment I would say their season is over. They would have to have a seriously good run of form to change their fortunes around. 3 Away games as Darby's and 2 out of 3 home games are Darby's as well. Those tend to be too close to call at the best of times. Realistically they would need to win 5 out of 8 to really have a chance of the playoffs. Can't see them pulling that out of the bag. Their front 5 is dire at the moment.

Rumors on the mill is that all the SA sides are recruiting heavily in the off season so the challenge next year will be even bigger. Good news for the league though as it's been clear from the early stages that getting into the top 8 is no joke.

I just hope this leads to Welsh sides sorting themselves out because being mediocre will not cut it at this level any longer if you want to get into the top European competition.

Connacht really have been great this season considering their resources. Sure they lost some key games this year and have blown a bit hot or cold at times. But the rugby they are playing is excellent. Have really enjoyed watching them this year. Welsh Teams could learn a lot from them. Shame for them though that the league has been so tight this year as I still think they will miss out on a top 8 spot.

The good news though is no team can go into next year thinking a top 8 spot won't be difficult to achieve.

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Post by Old Man Mon 14 Mar 2022, 12:45

Overall I have been impressed with the skill levels and pace teams attack with, quick breakdowns and plenty of giving ball air, handling and offloads are good in my view across the board.

As for the SA teams, they need bigger budgets, to compete with the top Irish teams journeymen won't do it.

I am a bit concerned with the quality of coaching in SA as well, the good coaches are all outside the country.

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Post by Welshmushroom Mon 14 Mar 2022, 14:05

If, and I'm not even sure SA fans will want to see this - South Africa did join the 6 Nations to make it a 7 Nations international series, I'm sure the added revenue from this would easily fund their 4 club sides fully.

I don't see Italy being ejected as they wouldn't vote for this this change but I could see a Sales pitch for 7 teams taking place given that each year sides would get 3 home games. That alone is probably worth several million to each Union every other year.

If that does happen (and I'm not saying it will), that could close the gap on the Irish teams in funding assuming SA re-invest this 7 Nations money back into the teams in the URC.

Clearly the SA union must be checking this out as the commitment to SANZAR was so short. I could see them being included once the deal expires in 2025. Not sure if SA fans would be to happy though.

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Post by Old Man Mon 14 Mar 2022, 15:10

At this point many SA fans are disillusioned with our domestic rugby, purely because our best players leave for greener pastures. I am not sure but I think most SA fans are also quite negative towards the ARU and NZRU, after we funded their rugby for more than two decades and were dismissed under the guise of COVID impact on travelling etc.

So I think they would welcome the opportunity to go into a 7 nations.

Whether it is realistic or not, I don't know, many from the Six Nations have spoken against such a move, tradition and all that.

But money does not care much about tradition.

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Post by Brendan Tue 15 Mar 2022, 15:36

Here is the table if done on points per game

Team - points per game
Top team
1. Leinster - 3.77
2. Ulster - 3.77

Top 4
3. Munster - 3.33
4. Glasgow - 3.25
5. Edinburgh - 3.25
6. Sharks - 2.91 (have climbed massively)

Playoffs
7. Stormers - 2.64
8. Ospreys - 2.50
9. Bulls - 2.45
10. Scarlets 2.20

Top 10 (need a miracle)
11. Connacht - 2.15
12. Cardiff - 2.00
13 Benetton - 1.92

Avoiding 15th
14. Lions - 1.55
15. Dragons - 1.10

Last
16. Zebre 0.29

For top 4 I think we could be looking at a three horse race between Sharks, Glasgow and Munster.  I feel Edinburgh have to hard a run in.  Feel Munster might finish 5th as half their remaining games are against the top 2.

Playoffs I think Bulls should make it but not sure about Stormers (Who must play Bulls, Leinster, Ulster and Glasgow all at home).  Welsh Champions should make the final spot.  Os have points in the bag but Scarlets the better games, last two rounds will be the difference.

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Post by Brendan Tue 15 Mar 2022, 15:45

The Sharks are a great example why a salary cap in the URC doesn't work.  Sharks are building a good team but there is plenty non rugby money going to some of the players to be under the cap when you look at their squad compared to the Bulls or Stormers.

Worried for the Lions as they don't seem to have as much money but the other 3 will improve their squad.

Overall adding the 4 SA teams has meant that the top 12 teams (excluding Zebre, Dragons, Lions & Benetton) will turn each other over fairly regularly and top 8 is really hard to call now.  And even 3 of the bottom 4 pick up plenty wins along the way at home.

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Post by Old Man Tue 15 Mar 2022, 16:34

Sharks have signed Etzebeth for a five year contract, until 2027, Private equity seems to play a big part in their recruitment.

They might become the marquee team in SA.

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