Another big week in the URC is coming up, with teams battling it out in the early season standings.
Here is a look at the matches this week with BetXchange.
Edinburgh VS Lions – The DAM Health Stadium, Edinburgh
The big news before this one is that Duhan van der Merwe is again part of Edinburgh Rugby’s setup. Duhan was a monster for the Scottish side for four seasons, averaging almost a try every other game throughout four seasons before removing south to join Worcester Warriors in the English Premiership. Worcester, however, fell into financial issues and was partially liquidated on Wednesday, leaving players free to join other clubs. It is uncertain if Duhan will be ready for this one regarding paperwork and fitness, but his signing will undoubtedly make for excitement in Edinburgh over the rest of the season.
The Scottish side is favorite share, and I do expect them to win even though Lions have a pair of impressive wins on tour over Ospreys and Cardiff. Edinburgh is a step ahead of both of those Welsh sides, however, so Lions will do well to turn them over on their home patch.
Zebre VS Stormers – Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Parma
- Zebre – 9/2
- Stormers – 2/11
- Draw – 30/1
Stormers are almost two try favorites against Stormers as they work with a line of 13.5 in Italy. I expect Stormers to win, but Zebre has been a team of almosts in 2022-23 in a big improvement over their performances last season. They should have beaten Leinster in a game in which they lost by four points, then they could easily have beaten the Sharks in a game where they went down by just five points. They weren’t quite as good against Munster, but I do like them to work hard enough at the breakdowns to cover here as they have added players who can control the game in the likes of Richard Kriel and Tiff Eden.
Leinster VS Sharks – RDS Arena, Dublin
The line here is 15.5, and that feels like it is doing the Sharks a little bit of a disservice, even against all-conquering Leinster. The Irish team is always the pick of the pack, but the Sharks are 2-0 on their current tour, even if both games against Dragons and Zebre were too close for comfort at the final whistle. Leinster are top of the log with three wins from three – impressive for a club in “turmoil” – and will be tough here. Expect the Sharks to kick early and often to test the Leinster back three, making the Irish team play from their own half as often as possible. I think they do enough to cover at +15.5 with BetXchange.
Glasgow Warriors VS Blue Bulls – Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow
Best game of the round. The Bulls are three from three after a 14 point win over Connacht, but injuries to wingers Canan Moodie and Sbu Nkosi dampened the celebrations. Hooker Johan Grobbelaar also left that contest early, all issues when facing a Glasgow side that are no mugs. Expect the Warriors to play with open, running rugby, trying to use their speed to counter the strength of the Bulls up front. I like the Bulls to win and cover the -1.5 points at 9/10 with BetXchange as Glasgow isn’t quite there yet this season.