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URC Round 16

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Post by neilthom7 Wed 20 Apr 2022, 10:18 am

Just 3 more full rounds to go including this weekend and we are really getting down to the gritty stuff, which teams will push through and secure European spots, playoff spots and home advantages.

All matches shown on Premier Sports, SuperSport and URC TV.

Friday 22nd April 2022

DHL Stormers v Glasgow Warriors- DHL Stadium, Cape Town – KO 17.30 IRE & UK / 18.30 ITA & SA
Ulster v Munster- Kingspan Stadium, Belfast – KO 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA & SA- BBC NI, RTÉ 2
Edinburgh Rugby v Zebre Parma- The DAM Health Stadium, Edinburgh – KO 19.45 IRE & UK / 20.45 ITA & SA- Mediaset

Saturday 23rd April 2022

Vodacom Bulls v Benetton- Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria – KO 13.00 IRE & UK / 14.00 ITA & SA- Mediaset
Emirates Lions v Connacht- Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg – KO 15.05 IRE & UK / 16.05 ITA & SA- RTÉ 2
Dragons v Scarlets- Rodney Parade, Newport – KO 15.00 IRE & UK / 16.00 ITA & SA- BBC Wales
Cardiff Rugby v Ospreys- Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff – KO 17.15 IRE & UK / 18.15 ITA & SA- S4C
Cell C Sharks v Leinster- Hollywoodbets Kings Park, Durban – KO 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA & SA- TG4

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Post by neilthom7 Wed 20 Apr 2022, 10:20 am

Some huge games this weekend, Ulster v Munster is a big one as both sides need a win for different reasons.

2 Welsh derbies, Leinster first trip to South Africa and a big game between Glasgow and Stormers that could have top 4 implications.

That's my weekend sorted

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Post by Hazel Sapling Wed 20 Apr 2022, 11:45 am

The most impactful games are Ulster vs Munster, Stormers vs Glasgow and Sharks vs Leinster for me (in that order).

If Glasgow and/or Leinster win, that may stop SA from having any home quarterfinals let alone semi-finals. Glasgow have sent our strongest possible squad missing only a couple of injured starters. Assuming fitness, the front rows could be Kebble - Turner - Zander vs Kitshoff - Ntubeni - Malherbe...going to be a battle scrum time.

Ulster vs Munster, both played punishing away/home series over the last couple of weeks. Whoever loses likely gets stuck in the morass of SA and Scots sides (depending on the Glasgow result) with a tough four weeks ahead.

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Post by Brendan Wed 20 Apr 2022, 11:12 pm

Looks to me like Edinburgh and Bulls are moving up the table.

Munster may be in trouble this round as a loss with no LBP could see them drop to 8th if Sharks win. Was pleased with Munster in Europe but Ulster did well v Toulouse and won't be so inept as Exeter were.

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Post by neilthom7 Thu 21 Apr 2022, 11:08 am

I do think that it's a good time for Munster to play Ulster, they have that wee bit of confidence from last week. Ulster on the other hand had a major emotional drain after the loss v Toulouse, just listen to Iain hendersons interview to see that.

Therefore the comedown from that loss for both players and fans might give Munster the advantage

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Post by BigGee Fri 22 Apr 2022, 7:40 pm

Stormers still going well and Glasgow get a stuffing.

Stormers, you would imagine are going to be in the mix this season.

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Post by Old Man Fri 22 Apr 2022, 7:48 pm

I don't think it matters who are going to make up the quarters, I cannot see anyone beating Leinster at home

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Post by neilthom7 Fri 22 Apr 2022, 7:52 pm

However will Leinster get home advantage whole way through? With the weakened squad they have taken to South Africa they may lose both of their next 2 games opening the door for them to be knocked off top spot maybe even out of the top 2.

With that final now being at the home of the top seed Leinster may be regretting leaving some of the big names at home

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Post by BigGee Fri 22 Apr 2022, 8:06 pm

neilthom7 wrote:However will Leinster get home advantage whole way through? With the weakened squad they have taken to South Africa they may lose both of their next 2 games opening the door for them to be knocked off top spot maybe even out of the top 2.

With that final now being at the home of the top seed Leinster may be regretting leaving some of the big names at home

Well if it does cost them taking a weakend squad down south, you are not going to have any sympathy for them.

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Post by neilthom7 Fri 22 Apr 2022, 8:06 pm

Munster taking advantage here of an Ulster team that has been through the ringer in the last 4 games and is really looking like it out there.

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Post by neilthom7 Fri 22 Apr 2022, 8:07 pm

BigGee wrote:
neilthom7 wrote:However will Leinster get home advantage whole way through? With the weakened squad they have taken to South Africa they may lose both of their next 2 games opening the door for them to be knocked off top spot maybe even out of the top 2.

With that final now being at the home of the top seed Leinster may be regretting leaving some of the big names at home

Well if it does cost them taking a weakend squad down south, you are not going to have any sympathy for them.

No I don't think too many people will be crying for them lol

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Post by neilthom7 Fri 22 Apr 2022, 9:20 pm

Munster winning v Ulster is a huge result for them, Ulster just completely off the pace for long periods of the match, the last 4 weeks and emotion from last week catching upo to them.
They need to try and recover and get their mind right again for the last 2 games.

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Post by BigGee Fri 22 Apr 2022, 9:44 pm

Edinburgh take 5 pts as well (that they hardly deserved)

Zebre showing there is a good rugby team in there somewhere!

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Post by neilthom7 Fri 22 Apr 2022, 9:51 pm

Big game next weekend for Edinburgh and Ulster then, both chasing the top 4.

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Post by BigGee Fri 22 Apr 2022, 10:03 pm

neilthom7 wrote:Big game next weekend for Edinburgh and Ulster then, both chasing the top 4.


Both need to up their games!

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Post by Brendan Fri 22 Apr 2022, 10:22 pm

It's tight for those spots. With Ulster and Glasgow losing Leinster would have to lose all three. We still don't know how they will even do in SA as both are at sea level. If they lose both then we really are in for a good last round as the SA teams could be ahead but away from home.

Munster winning is a surprise, they should pick up a win v Cardiff which might help them get over the line for top 4 (hopefully).

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Post by geoff999rugby Sat 23 Apr 2022, 6:49 am

neilthom7 wrote:Big game next weekend for Edinburgh and Ulster then, both chasing the top 4.

The loser could easily not be in the European Championship next year

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Post by neilthom7 Sat 23 Apr 2022, 10:35 am

Yep with the Welsh teams looking likely to all fall outside the top 8 it means only the top 7 would actually make the Champions Cup.

From an Ulster point of view I can only hope they get a rest up and get over their lackluster mental state from last nights game. A win in Edinburgh now is a must.

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Post by Old Man Sat 23 Apr 2022, 11:16 am

I think Bulls are most likely to lose out on the Champions Cup as it is unlikely they will end higher than eighth.

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Post by Pot Hale Sat 23 Apr 2022, 1:36 pm

Turning out to be a really tight finish to the URC - best outcome in many a year. The addition of the SA teams has been great to see - and providing stiff competition.

It wouldn't surprise me to see one of them winning the Championship.

Winning a fifth European star is probably the greater priority for Leinster this season, and so, they may falter in the next few weeks. Can't see them getting a result against Sharks or Stormers, although they might be lucky to get a LBP or TBP. Apparently, the travelling squad will switch tomorrow after Sharks game, with some players returning home, and some others travelling out.

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Post by neilthom7 Sat 23 Apr 2022, 7:16 pm

Just 4 points between 8th and 2nd with 2 games left, this is going to be tight

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Post by Old Man Sat 23 Apr 2022, 9:14 pm

Very tight

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Post by Old Man Sat 23 Apr 2022, 9:14 pm

But I suppose that is what the fans want, isn't it?

It at least shows the addition of the SA teams have made the URC competitive

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Post by neilthom7 Sat 23 Apr 2022, 9:22 pm

Very much so, I don't think I can recall a time recently when there was so much on the line heading into the final few games.  Usually by this time Leinster have strolled to the top playing their reserves a lot, some other teams have eased their way into the Champions Cup and most games have been fairly comfortable affairs.

This season has changed that, teams cannot afford to go half into games or take a game lightly (well maybe v Zebre), every point counts and most teams even now have something to fight for.  9 teams are still fighting for top 8 and maybe Ospreys feel like they can still be the best Welsh team and so are fighting for Europe that way too.

Its also really hard to tell who will get home quarters and what will even happen in those matches.  I bet the tv companies are happy at least haha

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Post by Old Man Sat 23 Apr 2022, 9:28 pm

Sharks will rue their loss to Edinburgh, they could have been in second place on at least 53 points. Not entirely sure what went wrong in that match though.

I think the broadcasters must be smiling, in the beginning of the season the SA teams looked way off pace, and having three of them fighting for qf spots and two teams standing a realistic chance of making the top four must make the organisers of the URC very happy.

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Post by neilthom7 Sat 23 Apr 2022, 9:43 pm

I don't think the organisers could really have hoped for much better. 3 SA teams, 3 Irish and 2 Scotish in the top 8, bar having a Welsh team up there I don't think the organiser could have really had much better outcome.

Esepcially with all the trials the league has had this year with Covid, actually for the organisers to manage to put on the league fully with a cross nations tournament in the midst of the pandemic should probably be applauded.

Future seasons will be interesting, I suspect many of the European teams will hope their matches in South Africa are early in the season when they are missing their internationals.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Sun 24 Apr 2022, 11:54 am

Old Man wrote:Sharks will rue their loss to Edinburgh, they could have been in second place on at least 53 points. Not entirely sure what went wrong in that match though.

I think the broadcasters must be smiling, in the beginning of the season the SA teams looked way off pace, and having three of them fighting for qf spots and two teams standing a realistic chance of making the top four must make the organisers of the URC very happy.
Very disappointed with the Sharks performance yesterday as that was as callow a Leinster team as you could hope to face. A lot of Leinster fans were expecting to lose by 30-40 points and yet we could have and perhaps should have won the game at the end. However I love what the sharks are trying to do with the match day experience and there was a great attendance at the match.

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Post by geoff999rugby Sun 24 Apr 2022, 2:22 pm

Technically only Leinster are definitely in the top 8.
Sharks and Munster should be safe given their games against Cardiff and Connacht this weekend.
Stormers still need some points at home to Leinster and away to Scarlets.

Those scrapping the most though are the two Scottish sides, Bulls and Ulster.
This weekend Bulls v Glasgow, Edinburgh v Ulster.
The two losers from those game are in big trouble.
You have to then look at the remaining fixtures
Glasgow v Edinburgh, Ulster v Sharks, Ospreys v Bulls.

Scarlets are away to Ospreys and at home to Stormers and could qualify on merit
rather than the backdoor of the Shield, if they win those two games.

By my reckoning there are 6 teams in the mix, which could become 7 or 8 if Cardiff or Connacht pull off a shock win.
One of those 8 teams are going to loose out for the knock out stages.
Scarlets are the only ones safe for next years European Championship

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Post by Filo8 Sun 24 Apr 2022, 9:57 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:Technically only Leinster are definitely in the top 8.
Sharks and Munster should be safe given their games against Cardiff and Connacht this weekend.
Stormers still need some points at home to Leinster and away to Scarlets.

Those scrapping the most though are the two Scottish sides, Bulls and Ulster.
This weekend Bulls v Glasgow, Edinburgh v Ulster.
The two losers from those game are in big trouble.
You have to then look at the remaining fixtures
Glasgow v Edinburgh, Ulster v Sharks, Ospreys v Bulls.

Scarlets are away to Ospreys and at home to Stormers and could qualify on merit
rather than the backdoor of the Shield, if they win those two games.

By my reckoning there are 6 teams in the mix, which could become 7 or 8 if Cardiff or Connacht pull off a shock win.
One of those 8 teams are going to loose out for the knock out stages.
Scarlets are the only ones safe for next years European Championship
Scarlets can still be caught by Ospreys for the Welsh spot, as Ospreys have a game in hand and also play Scarlets at home.

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Post by geoff999rugby Sun 24 Apr 2022, 10:18 pm

Good point so no one is guaranteed European Championship rugby next year other than Leinster

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Post by Guest Sun 24 Apr 2022, 10:26 pm

Sorry guys, embarrassed to say I don’t think I know (or perhaps have forgotten) what the European qualification rules are from the URC this year?! Is it still a meritocracy, as in just the top teams go into the champions cup? Or are we back to guaranteed entry for some based on nation?

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Post by neilthom7 Sun 24 Apr 2022, 10:52 pm

So the league is split into 4 sub leagues. Irish together, Welsh together, South Africa together then Scotland and Italy together.

Top team from each of those goes into the Champions Cup. The the 4 other highest finishers in the regular league table.

It means if a Welsh team does not finish in the top 8 then the highest place Welsh team will go into the Champions Cup and the 8th side in the league will miss out.

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Post by geoff999rugby Mon 25 Apr 2022, 7:41 am

The allowance one one guaranteed team per Shield is temporary.
We revert to a true meritocracy either next year or the year after

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Post by Guest Mon 25 Apr 2022, 8:28 am

Thanks both OK

I knew about the sub leagues/shields but somehow the automatic place from each one had passed me by somehow! Just thought it was going to be based purely on league placings. Not very fair, but a spot of luck for the Welsh this year perhaps if we have have one sneak in by the back door Smile

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Post by Hazel Sapling Mon 25 Apr 2022, 9:14 am

One of the Scots teams looks likely for the 8th (or even 9th) spot after Glasgow's capitulation at the Stormers. Really poor weekend for the Scots clubs. Hopefully both will pick up next weekend (Glasgow at the Bulls, Edinburgh home against Ulster) ahead of the Challenge Cup quarters.

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Post by Brendan Mon 25 Apr 2022, 10:29 am

By my reckoning Leinster need 1 more point to be assured of first or Sharks to not get 2 TBPs.  They have nearly +100pts on anyone else so someone would need to get 1 more log point to finish 1st.

The big problem is how intertwined the last two rounds are (again great work by the organisers to have the last three rounds cause such big games).  Munster and Sharks should get big wins this week but then have the hardest games in the final round.

What we can say at the moment is unless something unexpected happens.

Leinster are 1st - 1 pts need or Sharks to only pick up 9 remaining points.

Zebre are 16th - confirmed more or less as they would need to beat Dragons at home (possible) and Benetton and Cardiff away (unlikely). They have looked better under new management.

Anyone can claim second that currently sit 2-8 as Bulls could pick up 2 BP wins if Ospreys have nothing to play for. Ulster are my favourites for 2nd as two games they are more likely to win.

8th spot in my opinion is between the 2 Scots and Scarlets.  One of the Scots will pick up 4 pts in the last round so if they get nothing else then the higher team will either be on minimum of 53 or 54 which don't think Scarlets can make with such a bad points difference so highest Scarlets finish is 8th but they would have to get 2 wins to finish 8th. I think Bulls get 5pts v Glasgow moving them out of Sccarlets reach.

Cardiff are in danger of finishing 15th as they seem to be in freefall and if the lose to Dragons that gap becomes really small.  Final games are Benetton v Cardiff and Dragons v Lions (who may be on holidays). They do however play Zebre at home (If they lose that they deserve to finish 15th)

Connacht cant finish lower than 12th as they play Zebre which I think moves them away from the lower teams.

While the lower teams will be sad to miss out on the playoff/Champions Cup, Challange Cup seeding is still very important and finishing 9th and 10th make for a much better draw especially against the French opposition.

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Post by Old Man Mon 25 Apr 2022, 1:41 pm

For me Leinster will finish first, can't see them not at least gain two more log points, the race for second to fourth is alive, anyone can do it of the top 7, all have tough matches to follow.

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Post by Pot Hale Tue 26 Apr 2022, 11:49 am

I reckon Leinster just need a point from their final 2 matches. They've won 2 more games than other teams. They have a PD of 267 with Munster on 172 and Stormers on 141. Unless they ship approx 60 points margin in losses between those two teams whilst handing them TBP and gaining nothing - which is possible.
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