United Rugby Championship: 100 up for Richie Gray, Leinster make changes whilst Stormers and Bulls load up

·8-min read
United Rugby Championship: Split with Deon Fourie, Harry Byrne and Richie Gray Credit: Alamy
United Rugby Championship: Split with Deon Fourie, Harry Byrne and Richie Gray Credit: Alamy

The teams have been named for Saturday’s three quarter-final ties as the Stormers take on the Bulls in an all-South African clash, Leinster host the Sharks and Glasgow Warriors face Munster.

Stormers v Bulls

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The Stormers have been bolstered by the return of Springbok flanker Deon Fourie and wing Leolin Zas for their United Rugby Championship quarter-final against the Bulls in Cape Town on Saturday.

The home side’s head coach, John Dobson, has also recalled Ruhan Nel, Angelo Davids, Herschel Jantjies, Joseph Dweba and Frans Malherbe to the starting line-up, having featured off the replacements bench in the final league match of the season against Benetton a fortnight ago.

The only new faces among the replacements are second-row Gary Porter and utility back Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu.

Meanwhile, Bulls director if rugby Jake White has named a much-changed matchday squad to the one he fielded in their last URC league fixture against Leinster in Pretoria two weeks ago.

In the backline, Kurt-Lee Arendse starts at full-back and is joined in the back three by speedsters Canan Moodie and David Kriel, while Harold Vorster and Stedman Gans are the midfield combination.

Johan Goosen has been declared fit to start at fly-half while Embrose Papier gets the nod at scrum-half.

In the forwards, Ruan Nortje continues to lead the team from the second-row and he is joined in the engine room by Ruan Vermaak, while Johan Grobbelaar packs down at hooker alongside Mornay Smith and Gerhard Steenekamp, who are the starting props.

In the back-row, Elrigh Louw is back at number eight while Cyle Brink and Marco van Staden are the two flankers.

Prediction: Stormers by 5

The teams:

Stormers 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Angelo Davids, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Hacjivah Dayimani, 6 Deon Fourie, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Steven Kitshoff (c)
Replacements: 16 JJ Kotze, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Gary Porter, 20 Ben-Jason Dixon, 21 Willie Engelbrecht, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu

Bulls15 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 14 Canan Moodie, 13 Stedman Gans, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 David Kriel, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Elrigh Louw, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje (c), 4 Ruan Vermaak, 3 Mornay Smith, 2 Johan Grobbelaar, 1 Gerhard Steenekamp
16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Francois Klopper, 19 Janko Swanepoel, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Keagan Johannes, 22 Chris Smith, 23 Lionel Mapoe

Venue: DHL Stadium, Cape Town
Kick-off: 15:30 local (14:30 BST, 13:30 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa), Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Leinster v Sharks

Fly-half Harry Byrne will run out for his 50th appearance in Leinster colours against the Sharks this weekend. He is joined by skipper Luke McGrath in the half-back pairing for the quarter-final.

In the centres, Charlie Ngatai and Ciaran Frawley combine whilst the experienced Dave Kearney links up with Jordan Larmour and Hugo Keenan in an exciting back-three.

In the pack, Caelan Doris starts at number eight this weekend alongside Scott Penny and Max Deegan in the back-row.

South African Jason Jenkins starts against his countrymen alongside Ryan Baird in the second-row, while in the front-row the veteran Tadhg Furlong is joined by in-form hooker Dan Sheehan and Michael Milne.

On the bench, John McKee, Andrew Porter and Cian Healy are solid front-row replacements, with Joe McCarthy and Jack Conan the other forward substitutions.

The influential duo of Jamison Gibson-Park and Ross Byrne are on the bench this week whilst Liam Turner rounds out the matchday 23.

Shifted backline for Sharks

For the Sharks, Springbok Lukhanyo Am is set to regain the captaincy in the absence of Siya Kolisi and will be partnered by Ben Tapuai in the midfield.

Aphelele Fassi returns to the starting lineup at full-back, with Boeta Chamberlain shifting to fly-half in place of the injured Curwin Bosch. Marnus Potgieter and veteran Makazole Mapimpi complete the back-three.

Lightning-fast Grant Williams starts at scrum-half partnering Chamberlain in the half-back pairing against Leinster.

Up front, James Venter starts in place of Kolisi alongside Vincent Tshituka as the starting flankers with Sikhumbuzo Notshe packing down at number eight.

In the tight five, 20-year-old Corne Rahl starts next to the towering figure of Gerbrandt Grobler in the second-row. An all-Springbok front-row completes the starting XV with props Thomas du Toit and Ox Nche, being joined by Bongi Mbonambi at the coalface.

On the bench, the Sharks have front-row back-up in Fez Mbatha, Nthuthuko Mchunu and Carlu Sadie, with Jeandre Labuschagne and Phepsi Buthelezi the other forward options.

Scrum-half Cameron Wright is joined by Nevaldo Fleurs and the robust Rohan Janse van Rensburg as the backline replacements.

Prediction: Leinster by 14

The teams:

Leinster: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Jordan Larmour, 13 Ciarán Frawley, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Harry Byrne, 9 Luke McGrath (c), 8 Caelan Doris, 7 Scott Penny, 6 Max Deegan, 5 Jason Jenkins, 4 Ryan Baird, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Michael Milne
Replacements:16 John McKee, 17 Andrew Porter, 18 Cian Healy, 19 Joe McCarthy, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Liam Turner

Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Marnus Potgieter, 13 Lukhanyo Am (c), 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Boeta Chamberlain, 9 Grant Williams, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 James Venter, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Corne Rahl, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche
Replacements: 16 Fez Mbatha, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Jeandre Labuschagne, 20 Phepsi Buthelezi, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Nevaldo Fleurs, 23 Rohan Janse van Rensburg

Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Kick-off: 17:00 BST (16:00 GMT)
Referee: Craig Evans (Wales)
Assistant referees: Sam Grove-White (Scotland), Hollie Davidson (Scotland)
TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)

Glasgow Warriors v Munster

Second-row Richie Gray will reach a century of caps for Glasgow Warriors when he runs out against Munster in the quarter-final this weekend.

Scott Cummings is Gray’s second-row partner, whilst Jack Dempsey, Rory Darge and Matt Fagerson make up a very useful back-row.

Zander Fagerson starts in the front-row alongside fellow prop Jamie Bhatti and hooker Johnny Matthews.

In the backline, George Horne gets the nod at scrum-half and is joined by pivot Tom Jordan in the half-back pairing. In the midfield, Stafford McDowall starts alongside Sione Tuipulotu.

Winger Kyle Steyn leads the side yet again and is joined by the elusive Sebastian Cancelliere and full-back Ollie Smith in the back-three.

On the pine, Fraser Brown, Nathan McBeth and Simon Berghan are the front-row options, while JP du Preez, Lewis Bean and Sione Vailanu are the remaining forward replacements.

The experienced duo of Ali Price and Huw Jones are the only backline options in the 6-2 split.

Two big returnees for Munster

Meanwhile, Tadhg Beirne makes his return to Munster colours on the side of the scrum at blindside flank against Glasgow Warriors this weekend.

Peter O’Mahony starts on the other flank and leads the side in the quarter-final as Gavin Coombes rounds out the back-row.

RG Snyman makes his return to the second-row alongside Jean Kleyn whilst Stepehn Archer is joined by Diarmuid Barron and Jeremy Loughman in the front-row.

In the backline, the veteran Conor Murray starts with Jack Crowley as the half-back combination, whilst Malakai Fekitoa and Antoine Frisch are named in the midfield.

Wing Shane Daly is joined by fellow speedster Calvin Nash and full-back Mike Haley in the back-three.

On the bench, hooker Niall Scannell is joined by props Josh Wycherley and Roman Salanoa as the front-row replacements. Fineen Wycherley and John Hodnett round out the forwards on the bench.

Scrum-half Craig Casey starts on the bench alongside Ben Healy and Alex Kendellen.

Prediction: Glasgow by 5

The teams:

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Ollie Smith, 14 Sebastian Cancelliere, 13 Sione Tuipulotu, 12 Stafford McDowall, 11 Kyle Steyn (C), 10 Tom Jordan, 9 George Horne, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Rory Darge, 6 Matt Fagerson, 5 Richie Gray, 4 Scott Cummings, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Johnny Matthews, 1 Jamie Bhatti
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Nathan McBeth, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 JP du Preez, 20 Lewis Bean, 21 Sione Vailanu, 22 Ali Price, 23 Huw Jones

Munster: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Calvin Nash, 13 Antoine Frisch, 12 Malakai Fekitoa, 11 Shane Daly, 10 Jack Crowley, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Gavin Coombes, 7 Peter O’Mahony (C), 6 Tadhg Beirne, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Diarmuid Barron, 1 Jeremy Loughman
Replacements: 16 Niall Scannell, 17 Josh Wycherley, 18 Roman Salanoa, 19 Fineen Wycherley, 20 John Hodnett, 21 Craig Casey, 22 Ben Healy, 23 Alex Kendellen

Date: Saturday, May 6
Venue: Scotstoun
Kick-off: 19:35 BST (18:35 GMT)
Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy)
Assistant referees: Adam Jones (Wales), Manuel Bottino (Italy)
TMO: Matteo Liperini (Italy)

READ MORE: Jacob Stockdale hits 100 for Ulster while Ireland duo return for Connacht in first United Rugby Championship quarter-final

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