Bulls Stormers Champions Cup

The Bulls and Stormers in action. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

URC: How things stand with SA Shield up for grabs this week

The two local derbies take on greater importance this week because the South African Shield could well be clinched in this round of URC action.

Bulls Stormers Champions Cup

The Bulls and Stormers in action. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

The bye week in the Six Nations means the URC will again take centre stage this coming weekend and there are several high stakes games featuring teams with playoff aspirations.

ALSO READ | URC half-term report: Stormers

Locally Saturday’s derby double header featuring two games on the highveld will take centre stage, with the Bulls looking to break their seven-match losing sequence against the Stormers in the main event at Loftus Versfeld, but the support feature of the Lions hosting the Sharks being no less intense in terms of what is at stake.

The Johannesburgers desperately need to get back onto the winning trail after a two game bump against their Gauteng neighbours if they hope to become South Africa’s third team in the Champions Cup next year, and possibly fourth if the KwaZulu-Natalians win the EPCR Challenge Cup.

ALSO READ | URC half-term report: Sharks

The Bulls will be sitting pretty for a place in the top two on the overall log if they beat the Stormers, but conversely the Capetonians will be well back in the race for a top two finish if they make it eight in a row against their arch-rivals.

Both teams head into the Loftus clash in good form and with winning momentum – the last time the Bulls lost it was against the Stormers two days before Christmas, while John Dobson’s men haven’t lost since their second string team made a good fist of it against Leicester Tigers at Welford Road on 8 December.

ALSO READ | URC half-term report: Bulls

There has been an upward trend on the performance log for the two front-running South African teams in the URC, and their positioning after Saturday could be strongly influenced by what happens elsewhere in round 11.

ALSO READ | URC half-term report: Lions

URC Round 11 fixtures

Friday, 1 March
21h35: Munster v Zebre
21h35: Edinburgh v Ospreys

Saturday, 1 March
15h00: Emirates Lions v Hollywoodbets Sharks
17h00: Benetton v Glasgow Warriors
17h05: Vodacom Bulls v DHL Stormers
19h05: Connacht v Scarlets
21h35: Cardiff Rugby v Leinster
21h35: Ulster v Dragons

Springboks, Sharks, Eben Etzebeth versus Lions URC
Eben Etzebeth in action against the Lions at Kings Park. Photo: @SharksRugby.