URC: Sam Johnson hits 100 for Glasgow Warriors against Lions while Duane Vermeulen leads Ulster against Sharks

Sam Johnson Glasgow Warriors v Stormers URC 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy
Sam Johnson Glasgow Warriors v Stormers URC 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy

The 2022/23 United Rugby Championship season continues on Saturday with the postponed Round Six fixtures between the Sharks and Ulster as well as the Lions and Glasgow Warriors.

Check on the team news and see our predictions for those matches, here.

Sharks v Ulster

The Sharks team to meet Ulster in their rescheduled Round Six match at Kings Park on Saturday shows minimal changes to the side that defeated the Lions last weekend.

The team is building a nice head of steam as the tournament pool stages wind down and the momentum they have taken out of their 29-7 bonus point victory over the Lions means they go into this game with confidence.

Keeping team selection intact as much as possible, Sharks director of rugby Neil Powell has made just three changes to last week’s side.

There are two new starters in the pack and one in the backline, with Dylan Richardson and Vincent Tshituka, the flankers who played a starring role off the bench last week, getting the nod in the starting line-up, replacing James Venter and Henco Venter.

There is further good news on the return-from-injury status where Boeta Chamberlain has recovered from the injury he sustained against Bordeaux Bègles in their Champions Cup clash in mid-January. Chamberlain, his team’s top-scorer (with 66 points) replaces the injured Aphelele Fassi at full-back.

Meanwhile, Springbok Duane Vermeulen will lead Ulster in the number eight jersey in a starting line-up that sees him joined in the back-row by two physical and versatile players in Nick Timoney and Jordi Murphy.

The side, which can expect to face challenging temperatures, sees Alan O’Connor paired in the second-row with Academy player Harry Sheridan, who scored his first try for Ulster last weekend against Glasgow at Scotstoun.

In a change to the front-row, Rory Sutherland comes in at loosehead prop, while Jeff Toomaga-Allen, who scored a try the last time out against South African opposition in the URC, retains his place at tighthead, with John Andrew set to add to his tally of over 100 caps for the province at hooker.

Scrum-half John Cooney, who racked-up 10 points when Ulster beat the Sharks last season, will be looking to repeat this performance, with Jake Flannery coming in at fly-half. Flannery was responsible for a try and four conversions in a win over the Airlink Pumas when he was last in South Africa with Emerging Ireland.

Known for his speed, Aaron Sexton, forms the back three alongside Ulster stalwart Craig Gilroy and Mike Lowry.

Graduate of the Emerging Ireland tour, Stewart Moore completes the starting line-up in a centre partnership with Luke Marshall.

Forward cover comes from Tom Stewart, Andy Warwick, Gareth Milasinovich, Cormac Izuchukwu and Dave McCann. On the bench for the backline are Dave Shanahan, Ian Madigan and Ethan McIlroy.

Prediction: Sharks by 5

The teams:

Sharks15 Boeta Chamberlain, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Thaakir Abrahams, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Grant Williams, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi (c), 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Dylan Richardson, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Reniel Hugo, 3 Carlü Sadie, 2 Dan Jooste, 1 Ntuthuko Mchunu
16 Fez Mbatha, 17 Dian Bleuler, 18 Hanro Jacobs, 19 Emile van Heerden, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Lionel Cronje, 23 Yaw Penxe

Ulster15 Mike Lowry, 14 Craig Gilroy, 13 Luke Marshall, 12 Stewart Moore, 11 Aaron Sexton, 10 Jake Flannery, 9 John Cooney, 8 Duane Vermeulen (c), 7 Nick Timoney, 6 Jordi Murphy, 5 Harry Sheridan, 4 Alan O’Connor, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 John Andrew, 1 Rory Sutherland
16 Tom Stewart, 17 Andy Warwick, 18 Gareth Milasinovich, 19 Cormac Izuchukwu, 20 Dave McCann, 21 Dave Shanahan, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Ethan McIlroy

Venue: Hollywoodbets Kings Park, Durban
Kick-off: 14:00 local (12:00 GMT)
Referee: Sam Grove-White (Scotland)
Assistant Referees: Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa), Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa)
TMO: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland)

Lions v Glasgow Warriors

Lions head coach Ivan van Rooyen has made minimal changes to his starting line-up for their postponed clash with Glasgow Warriors in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Despite suffering a defeat against the Sharks at the same venue last weekend, Van Rooyen has resisted the urge to make wholesale changes to his matchday squad.

There is just one tweak to the backline with Sanele Nohamba replacing Morne van den Berg at scrum-half while at inside centre Marius Louw will continue as the side’s captain.

In the forwards, there are a couple of positional switches with Emmanuel Tshituka shifting from number eight to the blindside flank, which means Francke Horn takes over at the base of the scrum.

Elsewhere, Ruan Venter moves from the side of the scrum into the second-row where he takes over from former Springbok Willem Alberts.

Meanwhile, Sam Johnson will make his 100th appearance for Glasgow Warriors after the centre was named in the starting XV for this fixture.

The 29-year-old has become a fixture in the midfield for both club and country since making his Glasgow Warriors debut in a 31-19 win over the Ospreys in November 2015, scoring 10 tries in Glasgow colours to date.

Johnson lines up in a starting XV showing three changes from last weekend’s 17-11 victory over Ulster, a result that propelled Franco Smith’s team into the top four of the URC standings.

An unchanged front-row sees Johnny Matthews continue at hooker, packing down between Nathan McBeth – who lines up against his former team for the first time – and Argentinian international Lucio Sordoni.

Lewis Bean and Scott Cummings continue their partnership in the second-row, the latter currently sitting in the league’s top five for lineout steals across the season so far.

The back-row sees Sione Vailanu shift to number eight in a combination that sees two alterations from last weekend’s victory; Ally Miller comes in at blindside to make his first appearance of the 2022/23 campaign, whilst Rory Darge is named at openside for his first outing since picking up a knee injury against Cardiff back in round two of the URC.

Behind the scrum, Jamie Dobie and Tom Jordan are given the nod once more in the half-backs, having each started in front of a sold-out Scotstoun last time out.

Johnson lines up at inside centre on the occasion of his 100th appearance, joining captain Stafford McDowall – himself making his 50th appearance in Glasgow colours – in the midfield for the trip to Emirates Airline Park.

After impressing in the FOSROC Super6 since its inception, Eli Caven will make his professional debut for Glasgow Warriors after being named on the wing, the Ayrshire Bulls standout joining Cole Forbes and Josh McKay in the back-three.

Allan Dell could also make his club debut after the Scotland prop was named amongst the replacements for tomorrow afternoon’s match, having recovered from a calf injury sustained in pre-season to take his place in the matchday 23 for the first time.

Angus Fraser is in line for his first URC appearance should he come on to the field, as Scotland tight-head Simon Berghan completes the front-row cover.

JP du Preez is another returning to his former stamping ground as the South African wears the number 19 jersey, with Euan Ferrie retaining his place in the matchday 23.

Thomas Gordon rotates to the bench after starting last Friday night in a six-two split of forwards and backs, with Sean Kennedy and Duncan Weir covering the back-line.

Prediction: Glasgow by 8

The teams:

Lions: 15 Quan Horn, 14 Rabz Maxwane, 13 Manuel Rass, 12 Marius Louw (c), 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Gianni Lombard, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Francke Horn, 7 Emmanuel Tshituka, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Ruben Schoeman, 4 Ruan Venter, 3 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 2 PJ Botha, 1 JP Smith
16 Michael van Vuuren, 17 Rhynardt Runsburger, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Ruan Delport, 20 Ruhan Straeuli, 21 Morne van den Berg, 22 Rynhardt Jonker, Andries Coetzee

Glasgow: 15 Josh McKay, 14 Cole Forbes, 13 Stafford McDowall (c), 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Eli Caven, 10 Tom Jordan, 9 Jamie Dobie, 8 Sione Vailanu, 7 Rory Darge, 6 Ally Miller, 5 Scott Cummings, 4 Lewis Bean , 3 Lucio Sordoni, 2 Johnny Matthews, 1 Nathan McBeth
16 Angus Fraser, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 JP du Preez, 20 Euan Ferrie, 21 Thomas Gordon, 22 Sean Kennedy, 23 Duncan Weir

Venue: Emirates Airlines Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 16:15 local (14:15 GMT)
Referee: Adam Jones (Wales)
Assistant Referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa), Stephan Geldenhuys (South Africa)
TMO: Ian Davis (Wales)

READ MORE: United Rugby Championship: John Dobson extends tenure as Stormers head coach

The article URC: Sam Johnson hits 100 for Glasgow Warriors against Lions while Duane Vermeulen leads Ulster against Sharks appeared first on Planetrugby.com.