It will be another weekend of new surroundings for South African teams in round three of the United Rugby Championships (URC) this weekend with all hoping for positive results after baptism over the past two weekends.

Action regarding the South African teams start on Friday with the Sharks taking on the Ospreys in Wales while the Stormers, Bulls and Lions return to action on Saturday where they will be looking to better than last week.

The Bulls are playing in Wales where they will take on Cardiff while the Cape and Jozi sides find themselves in Scotland with the Lions facing Glasgow Warriors while Edinburgh await the Stormers at The DAM Health Stadium.

Ospreys VS Sharks

Alun Wyn Jones returns to the Ospreys starting line-up for the first time this season lining up alongside fellow British and Irish Lion Adam Beard in the second row.

An unchanged front row of Nicky Smith, Sam Parry and Tomas Francis go again with Will Griffiths, Jac Morgan and Morgan Morris packing down to complete the scrum.

Gareth Anscombe and Rhys Webb pair up as the half backs with Webb as Captain once again and Dan Evans returns to the backline with Luke Morgan and Mat Protheroe lining up on the wings.

Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler comes into the starting line-up to partner Owen Watkin to replace Michael Collins.

Elvis Taione, Gareth Thomas and Tom Botha provide the front row cover, with Rhys Davies and Ethan Roots completing the forward contingent off the bench.

Reuben Morgan-Williams, Stephen Myler and Joe Hawkins complete the matchday 23.

Sharks coach Sean Everitt has rang a number of changes to this week’s side by bringing in Ntuthuko Mchunu for Khwezi Mona and Kerron van Vuuren for Fez Mbatha who has not recovered from a knock that he took against Glasgow.

Thomas du Toit is retained at tighthead prop and has also been handed the captaincy role in the absence of Phepsi Buthelezi who plays off the bench this week.

Hyron Andrews and Ruben van Heerden make a return as the lock partnership with Le Roux Roets getting a break, while James Venter comes in for Dylan Richardson with Henco Venter named at eighthman.

In the midfield, Marius Louw and Jeremy Ward will partner up in place of Murray Koster and Werner Kok while Marnus Potgieter replaces Yaw Penxe and Anthony Volmink will start at fullback in place of Curwin Bosch.

Potgieter, Volmink and Dan Jooste will be making their URC debuts in this match.

Pick: Ospreys Wins by 0.27 at BetXChange

Glasgow Warriors VS Lions

Jamie Bhatti will bring up a half-century of appearances in Glasgow colours on Saturday after the loose-head was named in the starting XV for the visit of the Lions to Scotstoun.

An unchanged front-row sees Fraser Brown continue at hooker, with the club co-captain packing down between Bhatti and Murray McCallum.

Lewis Bean makes his first start of the season as the Army man comes into the second-row alongside Richie Gray, after Scott Cummings underwent surgery on a hand injury that will keep the Scotland international on the sidelines for six to eight weeks.

Rory Darge returns to the matchday 23 after missing the win over the Sharks, with the openside looking to build upon his Player of the Match-showing against Ulster in a back-row triumvirate completed by Ryan Wilson and Jack Dempsey.

The back division sees Jamie Dobie promoted to the starting XV for the first time this season, as the Inverness-born scrum-half forms a half-back combination with fly-half Ross Thompson.

Nick Grigg also comes in for his first start of the campaign, forming an all-Scotland centre partnership with last weekend’s Player of the Match, Sam Johnson.

Lions head coach Ivan van Rooyen has named a new-look match 23 ahead of his team’s third round United Rugby Championship visit of the Warriors.

EW Viljoen covers the flyhalf position as a result of injuries to both Jordan Hendrikse and Eddie Fouche and also at the back Stean Pienaar, Divan Rossouw and centre Manuel Rass picks up their first starts of the tour.

Upfront, Jannie du Plessis and Sti Sithole start at tighthead and loosehead respectively, with Ruhan Straeuli packing down at the back of the scrum.

Pick: Warriors Wins by 0.08 at BetXChange

Edinburgh VS Stormers

Summer signings Luan de Bruin and Ramiro Moyano have both been handed their competitive debuts for Edinburgh as two of seven changes named by coach Mike Blair.

De Bruin is named in a reshuffled front-row alongside Pierre Schoeman and hooker Dave Cherry, who replaces the rested Stuart McInally, while Marshall Sykes and Luke Crosbie return at lock and openside flanker respectively to complete the changes to the pack.

In the backline, James Lang is shifted to outside centre as Cammy Hutchison returns to the starting XV in place of the rested Mark Bennett, with Argentine international Moyano selected on the wing in the only alteration to the back-three.

Stormers have made six changes, with five in the backline and one in the forward pack, for their team to face Edinburgh on Saturday features where centre Juan de Jongh will play his 100th game for the Capetonians.

De Jongh, who made his Stormers debut in 2010 and has recently returned to the Cape after three seasons with English side Wasps, will partner Rikus Pretorius in midfield.

He joins the likes of Schalk Burger, Siya Kolisi, Frans Malherbe, Steven Kitshoff, Jean de Villiers, Peter Grant and Andries Bekker as Stormers centurions.

The other changes to the backline see Edwill van der Merwe on the wing as well as a new halfback pairing of Tim Swiel and Paul de Wet.

The only change in the forwards sees Ernst van Rhyn come in at lock, while prop Kwenzo Blose, hooker JJ Kotze and lock Justin Basson are set to make their first appearances of the campaign from the replacements bench.

Pick: Edinburgh Wins by 0.22 at BetXChange

Cardiff VS Bulls

Josh Navidi will make his first appearance of the season as Cardiff welcome the Bulls to the capital on Saturday.

The back row star, who returns to the line-up after featuring for the British and Irish Lions, slots into the number six jersey as one of five changes made following last week’s defeat to Ospreys.

Having featured in the opening two rounds of action from the bench, the Blue and Blacks bring Will Boyde onto the openside with Dmitri Arhip also introduced into the pack.

Lloyd Williams is reinstated as the starting scrum half, swapping places with namesake Tomos, while Ben Thomas is drafted in at inside centre, having made his comeback from a groin injury in Swansea last week.

Owen Lane, who has three tries from two outings this season, forms the back three alongside Hallam Amos and Lion, Josh Adams, Rhys Priestland and Samoan Rey Lee-Lo complete an all-international backline.

With club captain Josh Turnbull named on the bench, hooker Kirby Myhill takes over the leadership duties, while Seb Davies and Matthew Screech continue their partnership in the boiler room.

Bulls coach Jake White has made a handful of changes to their side to face Welsh side Cardiff on Saturday.

The Bulls team will see five changes to the backline personnel, while four new faces will be seen from the forwards pack that was on duty last weekend against Connacht Rugby.

Fullback David Kriel, wingers Madosh Tambwe and Kurt-Lee Arendse make returns to the starting XV, while scrumhalf Ambrose Papier makes a welcomed return in the run-on team after having spent weeks recuperating from an injury ahead of the start of the URC.

Cornal Hendricks will shift from wing to the familiar outside centre position, where he will partner with Harold Vorster.

A new-look front row will see hooker Bismarck du Plessis linking up with props Simphiwe Matanzima and Jacques van Rooyen. Janko Swanepoel, at lock, and Jacques du Plessis, at blindside flanker, will both earn starting berths.

Pick: Cardiff Wins by 0.31 at BetXChange


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