URC

Big URC battles await on Saturday. Photo: SA Rugby website

What time will all the big SA URC games kick off?

The massive derby between the Sharks and Bulls will headline the URC action on Saturday in what should be a thrilling clash.

URC

Big URC battles await on Saturday. Photo: SA Rugby website

All four South African teams will be in action on home soil on Saturday in the United Rugby Championship, with the Bulls hosting the Sharks in Pretoria, the Lions taking on the Dragons in Johannesburg, and the Stormers hosting Zebre Parma in Stellenbosch.

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The Bulls, who are currently in third place on the standings after four wins in six matches – two of which were on tour – will be determined to continue their impressive form when they line up against the KwaZulu-Natalians, who are under pressure to build on last week’s first win of the URC season in Durban.

The Pretoria outfit will have the extra motivation of extending their home winning run to three matches if they come out on top, and they will be wary of the fact that should Glasgow Warriors or Leinster suffer a defeat, they could advance beyond the top three on the table.

All this will place the pressure squarely on the Sharks’ shoulders, but they will take confidence from the fact that they come fresh off a morale boosting 69-14 victory – the biggest score of last weekend.

Interestingly, the Bulls have lost their last five derby fixtures against their local counterparts, while the Sharks have not won away from home since February.

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Big URC battles

The Lions, meanwhile, will be hunting their third URC win in four outings when they host the Dragons at Emirates Airline Park, and there is no doubt the Welsh visitors’ heavy defeat last week will add to their motivation.

The Johannesburgers are also only four points short of being in the top eight on the log, but they will be careful about underestimating the Dragons, especially with only one win more in the competition so far and with the Welsh club hurting from their result last week.

The hosts will be inspired by the fact that their only previous defeat to a Welsh team was in Llanelli in October 2021, as well as the fact that the Dragons don’t have a good track record against South African opponents, with their last win being in 2020.

The Stormers, in turn, will be desperate to sway their fortunes at home after returning from a disappointing tour in which they suffered four defeats in a row.

They will draw some comfort from the fact that Zebre Parma have only won one match this season, but the visitors showed in the last three weeks that they can be a threat by beating the Hollywoodbets Sharks before playing to a 22-22 draw against Cardiff at home.

The Capetonians, however, will see a victory as non-negotiable to get their season back on track after winning the first two matches of their campaign.

A victory will undoubtedly boost their confidence and so will the fact that they won all three of their matches at the Danie Craven Stadium to date, especially with their tour now over and the team used to the Cape conditions and a passionate home crowd behind them.

In the other matches, Munster take on the Glasgow Warriors in Cork on Friday, while a jam-packed Saturday will see Cardiff meet the Scarlets at the Arms Park, Ulster go up against Edinburgh in Belfast, Connacht hosting Leinster in an Irish URC derby, and Benetton battling it out with Ospreys in Treviso.

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Match information:

Bulls v Sharks

Date: Saturday, 2 December

Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

SA Time: 15h00

Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni

TV: SuperSport

Lions v Dragons

Date: Saturday, 2 December

Venue: Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg

SA Time: 17h05

Referee: Andrea Piardi

TV: SuperSport

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Stormers v Zebre Parma

Date: Saturday, 2 December

Venue: Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch

SA Time: 19h15

Referee: Eoghan Cross

TV: SuperSport