Four of the five remaining games from Week 10 of the URC take place this weekend with the four South African sides in Europe to complete their matches in a Covid delayed round. The final match of Round 10 will take place at Parc y Scarlets on April 16 when Scarlets host Dragons.
Here is a look at the matches.
Zebre VS Bulls – Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Parma
Zebre hasn’t played this month after a weather-related postponement in Cardiff last time out. Their last match was a 34-17 defeat at the hands of Munster, one of the best sides in the competition. The Bulls haven’t played outside of South Africa since October thanks to Covid issues and their home form has been spotty at best. Zebre has yet to record a home win in the URC this season and the Bulls will have far too much for them even with Morne Steyn missing this (and the next three) through suspension. I like the Bulls with Chris Smith at fly-half to grind down Zebre and cover the -18.5 points at 9/10 with BetXchange.
Leinster VS Lions – RDS Arena, Dublin
Leinster is a massive 25.5 point favorite over the Lions, something that is astonishing given how many players they have currently away on international duty with Ireland. The Lions have a pair of Junior Springboks to unleash on Leinster, with flanker Ruan Venter and fullback Quan Horn both in the starting XV. Flanker Dan Leavy returns to the Leinster side for the first time since November and he will be playing in a back row alongside Rhys Ruddock who will be making his 200th appearance for the province. While 25.5 points is a huge target, Leinster doesn’t concede points. I like them to cover here.
Connacht VS Stormers – Galway Sportsgrounds, Galway
This is the closest match of the round on paper with home side Connacht just a 4.5 point favorite over the visiting Stormers. Connacht had lost four on the bounce in all competitions before beating Scarlets 29-23 in Wales last time out, a win they very much needed. The Stormers are the highest placed South African side in the competition and Connacht is without five key players – including the likes of Bundee Aki and Jack Carty – who are all with the Ireland squad. The Stormers will welcome back one of their stars as No. 8 Evan Roos has recovered from a rib injury. I like the Stormers to not only cover the 4.5 point spread here but also to win outright against a Connacht side that isn’t as deep as the other Irish provinces in terms of talent.
Benetton VS Sharks – Stadio Comunale di Monigo, Treviso
The Sharks are another South African side that I like to cover this week as they visit Benetton as 8.5 point favorites. Benetton has won its last two home matches against Dragons and Glasgow Warriors, but the Sharks provide a different type of challenge to a side shorn of its Italian international contingent. Sharks are in fine form having lost just one in eight across all comps and are settled with just two changes to the side that beat the Bulls in Pretoria last time out. Ruben van Heerden is in at lock for the concussed Hyron Andrews, while Curwin Bosch gets the nod at flyhalf with Argentine Tito Bonilla dropping to the bench.