It was yet another intense weekend as the URC began to pick up speed after the World Cup hangover that had spectators struggling to adjust to the domestic game. Bet Central brings you all the highlights.
Sharks Hit Rock Bottom
The Sharks hit rock bottom on Friday night when they lost to a team that hadn’t won a competitive game in 28 months. It’s easy to blame the absence of the World Cup-winning Springboks, but the Sharks have not been in good shape for a while.
This loss consigned them to the bottom of the URC table and the team will need to self-introspect. John Plumtree is still in the early stages of his tenure and patience may well be needed for the New Zealander as he looks to fix the Sharks.
Italian Sides Victorious
After a lackluster World Cup from the Italians, this past weekend would have been great news for Italy as both their URC sides secured victories. Zebre in particular were victorious for the 1st time in 18 months in the URC as they edged the Sharks.
Benetton were also on the winning side as they beat the Stormers who have had a tough start to their 3rd URC campaign. It was the 1st both teams had won in the URC since its inception.
The Bulls Duo Putting Their Hands Up
The competition is still largely under strength due to a number of frontline World Cup players still being given time to recuperate both physically and mentally. But it would be remiss of us if we failed to acknowledge 2 Bulls Boks who have started the season well.
Big tighthead prop Wilco Louw has looked good early on and could fight his way back into the Boks squad if he continues to play well. Another player looking to fight for a spot in the squad is Embrose Papier who has started the season really well.
Lions To Persist With Nohamba At 10?
In a tight affair, the Lions broke their URC duck as they edged past a stubborn Scarlets side 24-23 in Wales. Part of the reason Ivan van Rooyen’s side emerged as the winners was the performance of Sanele Nohamba who was deployed at 10.
The utility halfback had a tidy game at 10 where he kicked well and managed the game impeccably. It was a stopgap for the Lions, but it would do their team no harm to persist with Nohamba at 10 especially when they want to play an expansive style.
Dan Sheehan Is In Great Form As A Skipper
It was the 1st time Leo Cullen entrusted Dan Sheehan with the captaincy in the URC and the Ireland hooker repaid his faith in full of a dazzling performance. Leinster are still not at full strength, but they were still too good for the Dragons.
Dan Sheehan was only starting to find his feet after an injury when Ireland crashed out of the World Cup so Cullen will be pleased to see he can still produce the kind of performance he produced on Sunday.