Round 7 marks the final round of the URC before we take a month off for the November internationals. It is also a derby round in South Africa, with the four teams squaring off in what will be a key weekend as all are desperate to win to provide some momentum for when the competition returns in late November.
Here is a look at some of the games with odds from BetXchange.
Lions VS Stormers – Emirates Airlines Park, Johannesburg
In a game where there is nothing between the teams from a bettor’s perspective, the Lions host the Stormers in Johannesburg. The Stomers have rung the changes – eight in all – with the exciting new Springbok combination of Manie Libbok and Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu getting the nod at 10 and 12 respectively. Five ‘Boks are unavailable, including a pair of props in Frans Malherbe and Steven Kitshoff.
The Lions are sticking with the same starting XV that was due to play against Glasgow before that game was postponed. That means Jordan Hendrikse will start at flyhalf in a game where the Lions were beaten 32-10 at home last season. I’m going to shade the home team here.
Scarlets VS Leinster – Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli
Leinster are the visitors to Parc y Scarlets on Friday as they continue to ride high atop the log. Scarlets come into this one after a frustrating defeat in Galway against a Connacht team they think they should have beaten. The Leinster team has a different look to normal with a number of first team players unavailable with the end of year Tests around the corner. This is most notable in the backline, where Leinster start four players with less than 10 caps each for the province. They should, however, still have more than enough here, with experienced heads in 9 and 10 in Luke McGrath and Ross Byrne. Take the Irish giants -5.5.
Munster VS Ulster – Thomond Park, Limerick
It is all change for Munster and Ulster too as the November internationals have forced the hands of their coaches. Munster have a disastrous shortage at lock, but it is in the front row where a big change has occurred with the vastly experienced John Ryan has been bought in from financially troubled Waps. It is a big day for Ulster hooker John Andrews, with the life long fan of the province set to make his 100th appearance in this one. I fancy he will be on the winning side too, with Ulster just having a few more healthy bodies in key positions than Munster. Take them at -4.5.
Bulls VS Sharks – Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
The Bulls will be rolling out a couple of players who missed their win over Benetton last weekend with Johan Goosen starting at fullback and Sbu Nkosi on the wing. The return of Cornal Hendricks at 13 means that the Bulls have a very different looking backline in this one. The Sharks are down a host of big name players thanks to international call ups, with the likes of Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi, and Bongi Mbonambi all unavailable. Add in the injury for Lukhanyo Am and it is easy to see why the Bulls -7.5 is the pick.