We have made it to the Final Round of the 2022-23 UGC regular season. Some things are already decided – Leinster has cruised to the top spot on the log and home advantage through the playoffs – but there is plenty to play for further down the table.
Here is a look at some of this week’s games with odds from BetXchange.
Stormers VS Benetton Treviso – Danie Craven Stadium, Stellebosch
When: Friday, April 21
Stormers are guaranteed third sport – barring a stunning turn of events that sees Glasgow running down their point differential – but will want to win this to put pressure on Ulster in the later game on Friday. They bring tough running eight-man Even Roos back into the starting lineup and will look to dominate in the pack, with the likes of Steven Kitshoff and Marvin Orie bringing size and power to the table.
Benetton needs a minor miracle to claim the final playoff spot. They would need to crush the Stormers on their own patch, then have Munster do the same to the Sharks in Durban to swing a points difference they are currently losing by over 80 in their favor. Realistically, this is a dead rubber for them, and with their players already focusing on the offseason, it is hard to see anything other than a monster Stormers win here.
Ulster VS Edinburgh – Kingspan Stadium, Belfast
When: Friday, April 21
Ulster has once again overperformed in the URC, given their relatively small provincial area, and they can secure second place on the log behind Leinster with a win (or bettering the Stormers’ result) on Friday. Coach Dan McFarland has shuffled his pack to keep everyone fresh and ready for a playoff run. THe nin/ten combination of John Cooney and Billy Burns will be looking to spring a backline loaded with game-breaking talent.
It has been a season of what-ifs for Edinburgh, and they will be looking for one more win to close the season on a high note. Wing Duhan van der Merwe is always dangerous, while the trio of Stuart McInally, Henry Pyrgos, ad Cammy Hutchinson will be looking for big games in their final appearance for the side. It won’t be enough, and Ulster will win this to take that coveted second spot.
Sharks VS Munster – Kings Park Stadium, Durban
When: Saturday, April 22
Munster could sneak fourth with a bonus point win, and Glasgow getting nothing out of their home match with Connacht. Alternatively, a Sharks win could take them from eighth to as high as sixth, depending on how results go in the games involving Connacht and the Bulls.
While the Munster side of this is interesting, the Sharks simply have to win here. No one wants to finish in eighth and have the ‘privilege’ of traveling to Dublin in the first round of the finals to get curb stomped by the Leinster machine. A first-round test at either Ulster of a South African derby against the Stormers is much more reasonable, so expect the Sharks to go full throttle in this one and pick up a bonus point win before seeing where the chips fall.