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United Rugby Championship: Round 2

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This round we again will gain more perspective as to what we can immediately expect from the South African challenge in the URC this year.

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Round 2 Fixtures

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The First weekend was a rough weekend for the South Africa fans continuing the harrowing experiences we have been facing over the last few weeks with losses to Australia and New Zealand.

Stormers losing to Benetton was shocking to me. The South African teams have got a proper shock to the system, especially when paired with what's happening in the International arena.

Sharks VS Munster went as expected in retrospect. We showed glimpses of our style in the Currie Cup and Super Rugby but every time we attacked, they smothered us at the breakdown and either turned it over or forced a penalty. Munster was very effective in attack and this exposed a fragile Sharks defensive system. The frailties expose themselves when as in the case against Munster we lose the forward battle, this is where the Springboks players could come in handy.

I expected Leinster to win. Just not by as far. Bulls typically showing their historically poor touring form.

Lions letting Zebre back in the game was entertaining but a proper wtf moment as to the presence or lack thereof of any form of fitness or composure by the Lions. Their mentality needs to be questioned.

I Understand things are going to be tough in the first few weeks for SA teams, but I believe some teams will come to the party sooner than some people think.

Here is one example of a sudden shift to overall negativity for the South African challenge in the URC.

Jake preaches perspective after bulls humbling

While I think it's true our youngsters are struggling and yea it was probably ignorant to think we will beat the original pro 12 teams straight of the bat away. There is hope.
This journalist believes its gonna get worse first
Click Here for link

For this weekends games​

If the Bulls lose to Connacht then we know for a fact we are going to struggle away this year.
Lions will probably lose vs Scarlets, but it could be a fun open game with lots of tries. Lions might give them a go.

Benetton should take Edinburgh at home .

I understand Glasgow is one of the better teams in this comp the last couple of years, and they should be favourites but if the Sharks can improve their defence by just a little in terms of accuracy and take more care of the ball in the next game then we can outscore Glasgow .

Ulster to get their points difference to 50+

Stormers will make it a close game vs Munster in the first 30 but I think Munster's fitness will prevail, and run away slightly with the score.

Ospreys at home? Should beat Cardiff right?

Leinster will maybe peacock the rest of the competition with a strong win vs Dragons.

May the best teams win. I have not lost hope yet.
 

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@moderators, it will be a good idea to eventually change the name of this section to URC. The competition has lost the numbering in the ***le now and it will be easier for you to keep up with the extreme pace of the name changes. Relief has come, but the name needs to change first.
 

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@moderators, it will be a good idea to eventually change the name of this section to URC. The competition has lost the numbering in the ***le now and it will be easier for you to keep up with the extreme pace of the name changes
I don't have the POWER but will ask.

Man, what are the Stormers' chances of getting at least within 20 points of Munster? I'm bummed already. Was hoping to see some signings before the start of this tournament but all that happened in the news leading up was the loss of star player after star player. So much so we hardly have any returning test players to look forward to.

What irritates me more than the above though is its Thursday and still not a single line-up from what I can see. Will have to shoot blindly again in fantasy rugby as I am going on vaca this afternoon.
 

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I don't have the POWER but will ask.

Man, what are the Stormers' chances of getting at least within 20 points of Munster? I'm bummed already. Was hoping to see some signings before the start of this tournament but all that happened in the news leading up was the loss of star player after star player. So much so we hardly have any returning test players to look forward to.

What irritates me more than the above though is it's Thursday and still not a single line-up from what I can see. Will have to shoot blindly again in fantasy rugby as I am going on vaca this afternoon.
I think the Stormers style of play will be a better fit against the Strangle style Munster employs. I think the Stormers should get closer but still expect the loss. There is that and we will get better with every game on tour as the players adapt to the shock.

Or I might be completely wrong.
 

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Or I might be completely wrong.

My feelings exactly. I give Munster a 30 point lead give or take 20 LOL.

Connacht Bulls is my biggest hope for a SA win. Stormers and Lions are all but sure losses IMO. Sharks I give a slightly better chance but you guys are really missing a ton of personnel to the Bokke. Probably a tight loss to the Scots but a loss none the less. If we can just manage at least 1 win a week on tour. I am sure the tables will turn at home.
 

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My feelings exactly. I give Munster a 30 point lead give or take 20 LOL.

Connacht Bulls is my biggest hope for a SA win. Stormers and Lions are all but sure losses IMO. Sharks I give a slightly better chance but you guys are really missing a ton of personnel to the Bokke. Probably a tight loss to the Scots but a loss none the less. If we can just manage at least 1 win a week on tour. I am sure the tables will turn at home.
Sharks are hosted by a strong team but i think they rebuilt their whole squad in the off season so now is as good a time as any to get a win away vs them.

The match will be played on a plastic pitch. The players will get carpet burn and a Sharks player has already said they will be wrapping their knees and elbows. But this pitch is hard and fast, apparently the ball just keeps on rolling with less resistance then grass. This should suit the South African teams, maybe to an immense degree. None of the Sharks players has ever played on a 4g pitch.
 

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Bulls
Ruan Combrinck
Cornal Hendricks
Lionel Mapoe
Harold Vorster
Stravino Jacobs
Johan Goosen
Zak Burger
Lizo Gqoboka
Joe van Zyl
Jacques van Rooyen
Walt Steenkamp
Ruan Nortje
Marcell Coetzee (Captain)
Arno Botha
Elrigh Louw

Replacements:

Bismarck du Plessis
Simphiwe Matanzima
Mornay Smith
Janko Swanepoel
Jacques du Plessis
Embrose Papier
Chris Smith
Stedman Gans
 

Groundhog

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Good news for the Bulls they will be playing for 60 minutes against 14 men when Papali'i is inevitably red carded. Boyle an out and out better player, but looks like Connacht are bracing for Bulls' big men! I don't really rate that pack to be honest though. Butler hasn't been good in the last while, but at least he's in his best position. Looking forward to seeing if Fifita is ay good. Connacht need a big ball carrier in the tight 5.
 

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Slightly changed team! Delighted Knox gets a start. Physcially he looks ready. Just want to see how that translates. No huge stories outside that in the pack. I'd say RG will get a good 30 mins this time out. Clearly a week or two too soon for Hodnett, but really looking forward to having him back. Earls at 13 will give bad flashbacks, but he should be well able at this standard and an injection of pace at 13 is very welcome. Love the back three. Nash is flying it right now.

FAm6_L_WEAQRLR4
 

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Slightly changed team! Delighted Knox gets a start. Physcially he looks ready. Just want to see how that translates. No huge stories outside that in the pack. I'd say RG will get a good 30 mins this time out. Clearly a week or two too soon for Hodnett, but really looking forward to having him back. Earls at 13 will give bad flashbacks, but he should be well able at this standard and an injection of pace at 13 is very welcome. Love the back three. Nash is flying it right now.

FAm6_L_WEAQRLR4
Ah great news about Knox. I picked him for my fantasy team just hoping he would be picked as i ran out of transfers. Its weird, the Irish teams announce their teams very late. Its almost weekend. South African teans announce their lineups at the begining of the week, monday or tuesday. Theres no point in delaying as its not really a suprise for the other teams and it confirms to the players you will be starting and you will be on the bench so take that into account for the weeks training.
 

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I just watched the Irish off the Ball podcast thingy. And I must say I will enjoy the relaxed nature of the Irish commentators and pundits much more than the NZ ones. The NZ ones (John Kirwan for example) were very arrogant in commentary pre and post-game even their media liked to attack our teams often, claiming how good they were and how we get the benefit of playing more games against our "weaker" local rivals. They were justified in a way as their teams dominated but they were not as gracious as the ones from Ireland I have seen so far.

I have not seen anything from Wales or Scotland for that matter.
 

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I just watched the Irish off the Ball podcast thingy. And I must say I will enjoy the relaxed nature of the Irish commentators and pundits much more than the NZ ones. The NZ ones (John Kirwan for example) were very arrogant in commentary pre and post-game even their media liked to attack our teams often, claiming how good they were and how we get the benefit of playing more games against our "weaker" local rivals. They were justified in a way as their teams dominated but they were not as gracious as the ones from Ireland I have seen so far.

I have not seen anything from Wales or Scotland for that matter.
I would say our media is generally mostly very self punishing and critical of Irish performances. Also I would say the response to the SA sides joining is 100% positive and hopeful.

Only podcast I ever really listen to is Potholes and Penguins (formerly House of Rugby) hosted by Andrew Trimble and Barry Murphy, which is pretty much all humor based. OTB I see clips of some time its pretty good.
 

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BBC Northern Ireland has a new show every Thursday called The Ulster Rugby Show, with Rory Best, Tommy Bowe and journalist Gavin Andrews. A bit lightweight and cheerleady so far. They interviewed Iain Henderson last week and Dan McFarland yesterday. I'd like to see a bit more analysis - interesting plays from last week's game, highlighting things the casual viewer might not notice, what we can expect from this weekend's opponents, that kind of thing.

The Belfast Telegraph does an Ulster Rugby Roundup podcast on Soundcloud, which goes into more detail, but without pictures.
 

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Ulster:

  • 15. Will Addison
  • 14. Craig Gilroy
  • 13. James Hume
  • 12. Stewart Moore
  • 11. Ethan McIlroy
  • 10. Billy Burns
  • 9. Nathan Doak
  • 1. Eric O’Sullivan
  • 2. Rob Herring
  • 3. Tom O’Toole
  • 4. Alan O’Connor (captain)
  • 5. Mick Kearney
  • 6. Matty Rea
  • 7. Nick Timoney
  • 8. David McCann
Replacements:

  • 16. Brad Roberts
  • 17. Callum Reid
  • 18. Marty Moore
  • 19. Sam Carter
  • 20. Sean Reidy
  • 21. David Shanahan
  • 22. Mike Lowry
  • 23. Ben Moxham

Zebre:

  • 15. Junior Laloifi
  • 14. Gabriele Di Giulio
  • 13. Giulio Bisegni (captain)
  • 12. Tommaso Boni
  • 11. Asaeli Tuivuaka
  • 10. Carlo Canna
  • 9. Alessandro Fusco
  • 1. Danilo Fischetti
  • 2. Luca Bigi
  • 3. Matteo Nocera
  • 4. David Sisi
  • 5. Leonard Krumov
  • 6. Maxime Mbandà
  • 7. Potu Junior Leavasa
  • 8. Giovanni Licata
Replacements:

  • 16. Oliviero Fabiani
  • 17. Andrea Lovotti
  • 18. Ion Neculai
  • 19. Andrea Zambonin
  • 20. Renato Giammarioli
  • 21. Guglielmo Palazzani
  • 22. Antonio Rizzi
  • 23. Jacopo Trulla
 

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Just saw the bulls play Connacht the same time as the Lions vs Scarlets.

Thats the dumbest piece of scheduling i have ever seen in the enitre time that i have watched rugby. For what reason? Do they want to divide the tv numbers?
 

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I just watched the Irish off the Ball podcast thingy. And I must say I will enjoy the relaxed nature of the Irish commentators and pundits much more than the NZ ones. The NZ ones (John Kirwan for example) were very arrogant in commentary pre and post-game even their media liked to attack our teams often, claiming how good they were and how we get the benefit of playing more games against our "weaker" local rivals. They were justified in a way as their teams dominated but they were not as gracious as the ones from Ireland I have seen so far.

I have not seen anything from Wales or Scotland for that matter.
Have you seen the aotearoa rugby pod? I don't think they're arrogant, and seem quite laid back. Hall and parsons spent pretty much the entirety of the mast show defending the springboks style and saying how much they enjoyed the game. I agree the guys on the breakdown are a bit arrogant
 

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Ah great news about Knox. I picked him for my fantasy team just hoping he would be picked as i ran out of transfers. Its weird, the Irish teams announce their teams very late. Its almost weekend. South African teans announce their lineups at the begining of the week, monday or tuesday. Theres no point in delaying as its not really a suprise for the other teams and it confirms to the players you will be starting and you will be on the bench so take that into account for the weeks training.
Just because they name the team late in the media doesn't mean they haven't named to the team already. They will always pick their side p early in the week so they can train with them.
 

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