The teams for this weekend’s Round 5 fixtures of the BKT United Rugby Championship have been named with all details of match officials and broadcast information below.
TEAM NEWS HEADLINES
- Corey Baldwin comes in to partner skipper Jonathan Davies in the Scarlets midfield
- Wales international Ryan Elias returns at hooker for Scarlets
- Uilisi Halaholo returns to the Cardiff starting XV
- Sione Tuipulotu captains Warriors for first time while George Horne and Matt Fagerson return after missing last week due to knocks
- Josh McKay makes first appearance of season after off-season surgery
- Jan-Hendrik Wessels (21) will make his first BKT URC start for the Vodacom Bulls at hooker
- Duane Vermeulen re-joins the Ulster men from international duty with South Africa
- The highest points-scorer in the league, John Cooney, retains his starting position at scrum-half for Ulster
- Gareth Thomas will make his 100th appearance for the Ospreys
- Huw Sutton will make his first Ospreys start.
- Ben Carter leads a Dragons team that shows 10 changes from their narrow defeat to the Cell C Sharks
- Benetton name 10 Italian internationals in their starting XV
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7
Connacht v Munster
The Sportsground, Galway – KO 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA & SA
Referee: Chris Busby (IRFU, 25th league game)
AR 1: Frank Murphy (IRFU) AR 2: Dan Carson (IRFU)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (IRFU)
Live on: TG4, Premier Sports, SuperSport, Discovery + & URC.tv
Connacht: Conor Fitzgerald, John Porch, Byron Ralston, David Hawkshaw, Mack Hansen, Jack Carty (CAPT) Kieran Marmion, Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, Gavin Thornbury, Oisín Dowling, Shamus Hurley-Langton, Conor Oliver, Jarrad Butler
Replacements: Grant Stewart, Peter Dooley, Jack Aungier, Niall Murray, Josh Murphy, Colm Reilly, Tom Daly, Paul Boyle
Munster: Joey Carbery, Conor Phillips, Malakai Fekitoa, Dan Goggin, Patrick Campbell, Ben Healy, Conor Murray, Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, Keynan Knox, Jean Kleyn, Tadhg Beirne, Jack O’Donoghue, Peter O’Mahony (CAPT), Gavin Coombes
Replacements: Scott Buckley, Jeremy Loughman, Stephen Archer, Edwin Edogbo, Jack O’Sullivan, Craig Casey, Rory Scannell, Fionn Gibbons.
Connacht Director Of Rugby Andy Friend said: “We won’t hide from the fact our performances and results haven’t been good enough. We’ve been guilty of too many unforced errors, and at this level you’re going to be punished. As is always the case against Munster, the team who brings the greater level of physicality, linked with superior discipline and minimal error count is that team that usually comes out on top, so those three things are a key focus for us this week. With the new pitch and our friends, family and supporters behind us, we’ll be doing everything in our power to get that first win of the season.”
Edinburgh Rugby v Emirates Lions
The DAM Health Stadium, Edinburgh – KO 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA & SA
Referee: Andrea Piardi (FIR, 27th league game)
AR 1: Ru Campbell (SRU) AR 2: Jonny Perriam (SRU)
TMO: Stefano Roscini (FIR)
Live on: Premier Sports, SuperSport, Discovery + & URC.tv
Edinburgh Rugby: Henry Immelman, Darcy Graham, Matt Currie, James Lang, Emiliano Boffelli, Blair Kinghorn, Henry Pyrgos, Boan Venter, Stuart McInally, Luan de Bruin, Glen Young, Grant Gilchrist (CAPT), Luke Crosbie, Hamish Watson, Viliame Mata
Replacements: Dave Cherry, Pierre Schoeman, WP Nel, Marshall Sykes, Ben Muncaster, Charlie Shiel Charlie Savala, Chris Dean
Emirates Lions: Andries Coetzee, Stean Pienaar, Henco van Wyk, Marius Louw, Quan Horn, Gianni Lombard, Sanele Nohamba, Sti Sithole, PJ Botha, Ruan Dreyer, Pieter Jansen van Vuren, Reinhard Nothnagel (CAPT), Sibusiso Sangweni, Ruan Venter, Francke Horn
Replacements: Jaco Visagie, JP Smith, Ruan Smith, Emmanuel Tshituka, Ruhan Straeuli, Morne van den Berg, Jordan Hendrikse, Zander du Plessis
Edinburgh Rugby Head Coach Mike Blair said: “We’re excited to be back home after a two-week tour and the squad are really looking forward to Friday nightlights in front of the Edinburgh supporters – it’s always a special experience playing under the lights and we’re anticipating a brilliant atmosphere. It’s the second season of celebrating ‘club appreciation night’ and it’s something that definitely adds that extra bit of motivation for the squad. We’re proud to represent our grassroots clubs and it’s important we recognise those local teams that do so much to support us on a weekly basis. We’ve made a number of changes to the starting line-up and we’re excited to see guys get their opportunity for what will be a really tough match-up. Emirates Lions come into the game having won two straight in Wales, so we’ll have to be at our very best come kick-off tomorrow night.”
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8
Zebre Parma v DHL Stormers
Stadio Lanfranchi, Parma – KO 15.00 IRE & UK / 16.00 ITA & SA
Referee: Eoghan Cross (IRFU, 4th league game)
AR 1: Dario Merli (FIR) AR 2: Alberto Favaro (FIR)
TMO: Olly Hodges (IRFU)
Live on: Eurosport, Discovery + , SuperSport, Premier Sports, TG4 & URC.tv
Zebre Parma: Jacopo Trulla; Latu Latunipulu, Tommaso Boni, Damiano Mazza, Simone Gesi; Tiff Eden, Chris Cook; Juan Pitinari, Jacques du Toit, Ion Neculai; David Sisi (capt) Andrea Zambonin; Davide Ruggeri, Iacopo Bianchi, Taina Fox-Matamua
Replacements: Luca Bigi, Luca Rizzoli, Matteo Nocera, Gabrielle Venditti, Luca Andreani, Alessandro Fusco, Joey Caputo, Lorenzo Pani.
DHL Stormers: Damian Willemse, Suleiman Hartzenberg, Alapati Leuia, Sacha Mngomezulu, Angelo Davids, Manie Libbok, Herschel Jantjies; Ali Vermaak, Andre-Hugo Venter, Neethling Fouche; Salmaan Moerat (capt), Adre Smith; Junior Pokomela, Willie Engelbrecht, Evan Roos.
Replacements: Chad Solomon, Kwenzo Blose, Brok Harris, Marvin Orie, Nama Xaba, Marcel Theunissen, Paul de Wet, Dan du Plessis.
Zebre Parma head coach, Fabio Roselli, said: “DHL Stormers are a physical and fast team with a style of play that could actually favour our philosophy. We are proud to add new players to the line-up every week, some of them making their first appearance in the BKT United Rugby Championship and with Zebre. We are sure that their contribution will be positive, because since the beginning of pre-season they are showing attitude, learning ability and hard work, aspects that are the basis for growing and doing well.
“We come from a game with Munster in which we were in emergency for most of the time due to three injuries in the centres’ union. Nevertheless, this Saturday we line up a solid and balanced team that wants to express in an exciting way what is our style. Once again, the first half of the game will be decisive; we should do better in terms of play, discipline and realised chances”.
John Dobson, head coach of the DHL Stormers, said: “This is a team full of potential, just looking at some of the combinations we have out there. It is fantastic to have someone of Salmaan’s stature to step in as captain and we are excited to see what the likes of Alapati, Sacha, Willie and Herschel can do as they all make their first start of the campaign.
“We know it will be tough against a competitive Zebre side away from home, but preparations have gone well and we are looking forward to the challenge.”
Leinster v Cell C Sharks
RDS Arena, Dublin – KO 17.05 IRE & UK / 18.05 ITA & SA
Referee: Craig Evans (WRU, 35th league game)
AR 1: Peter Martin (IRFU) AR 2: Keane Davison (IRFU)
TMO: Sean Brickell (WRU)
Live on: RTÉ, Premier Sports, SuperSport, Discovery + & URC.tv
Leinster: Jimmy O’Brien, Jordan Larmour, Robbie Henshaw, Charlie Ngatai, Rob Russell, Johnny Sexton (capt), Luke McGrath; Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan, Michael Ala’alatoa; Ross Molony, Jason Jenkins; Ryan Baird, Will Connors, Jack Conan.
Replacements: John McKee, Cian Healy, Vakhtang Abdaladze, James Ryan, Rhys Ruddock, Cormac Foley, Ross Byrne, Garry Ringrose
Cell C Sharks: Aphelele Fassi; Werner Kok, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Ben Tapuai, Thaakir Abrahams; Boeta Chamberlain, Grant Williams; Ntuthuko Mchunu, Kerron van Vuuren, Thomas du Toit (capt); Justin Basson, Hyron Andrews; James Venter, Dylan Richardson, Sikhumbuzo Notshe.
Replacements: Dan Jooste, Dian Bleuler, Carlu Sadie, Reniel Hugo, Phepsi Buthelezi, Cameron Wright, Nevaldo Fleurs, Marnus Potgieter.
Scarlets v Cardiff Rugby
Parc Y Scarlets, Scarlets – KO 17.15 IRE & UK / 18.15 ITA & SA
Referee: Adam Jones (WRU, 34th league game)
AR 1: Elgan Williams (WRU) AR 2: Mark Butcher (WRU)
TMO: Ian Davies (WRU)
Live on: Premier Sports, SuperSport, Discovery + & URC.tv
Scarlets: Leigh Halfpenny; Johnny McNicholl, Corey Baldwin, Jonathan Davies (capt), Ryan Conbeer; Sam Costelow, Gareth Davies; Steff Thomas, Ryan Elias, Javan Sebastian; Tom Price, Sam Lousi; Vaea Fifita, Blade Thomson, Sione Kalamafoni.
Replacements: Ken Owens, Wyn Jones, Harri O’Connor, Jac Price, Shaun Evans, Dane Blacker, Dan Jones, Steff Evans.
Cardiff Rugby: Rhys Priestland; Jason Harries, Rey Lee-Lo, Uilisi Halaholo, Theo Cabango; Jarrod Evans, Tomos Williams; Rhys Carré, Kristian Dacey, Dmitri Arhip, Lopeti Timani, Seb Davies, Josh Turnbull (capt.), Thomas Young, Taulupe Faletau
Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Corey Domachowski, Will Davies-King, Teddy Williams, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Lloyd Williams, Mason Grady, Max Llewellyn
Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel said: “We have been in all three games at the end and haven’t come away with the win, which is frustrating for everyone. It is a big derby and the reality is neither of us have won the last two games, we need to win, they need to win, it will be a good edge.”
Cardiff director of rugby, Dai Young, said: “It promises to be a significant challenge at Parc y Scarlets but it is one we are looking forward to. They will be really eager to get their season started so we know its going to be a tough game and that’s what we have focused on this week.
“We were frustrated with the result last Friday, because it was a game I felt we should have won and we certainly had the opportunities to do so. We’re looking forward to getting back out there and having the opportunity to produce a good performance, which will hopefully be enough to secure the result we want.”
Glasgow Warriors v Vodacom Bulls
Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow – KO 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA & SA
Referee: Andy Brace (IRFU, 82nd league game)
AR 1: David Sutherland (SRU) AR 2: Ru Campbell (SRU)
TMO: Mark Patton (IRFU)
Live on: Premier Sports, SuperSport, Discovery + & URC.tv
Glasgow Warriors: Josh McKay, Sebastian Cancelliere, Sione Tuipulotu (C), Sam Johnson, Cole Forbes, Tom Jordan, George Horne; Jamie Bhatti, Fraser Brown, Zander Fagerson, Scott Cummings, Richie Gray, Gregor Brown, Thomas Gordon, Matt Fagerson.
Replacements: George Turner, Oli Kebble, Lucio Sordoni, JP du Preez, Sintu Manjezi, Ryan Wilson, Ali Price, Domingo Miotti
Vodacom Bulls: Kurt-Lee Arendse; Cornal Hendricks, Lionel Mapoe, David Kriel, Stedman Gans, Chris Smith, Zak Burger; Gerhard Steenekamp, Jan-Hendrik Wessels, Francois Klopper; Walt Steenkamp, Ruan Nortjé; Marcell Coetzee (capt), Marco Van Staden, Elrigh Louw.
Replacements: Bismarck Du Plessis, Simphiwe Matanzima, Mornay Smith, Janko Swanepoel, Reinhardt Ludwig, Embrose Papier, Morné Steyn, Wandisile Simelane
Glasgow Warriors head coach, Franco Smith, said:“We know we welcome a formidable unbeaten Bulls side to Scotstoun tomorrow. We will need to take our chances and be more clinical against what will be a of big South African side.
“Sione [Tuipulotu] has been a stand out player for us in the opening rounds and plays a key part in our leadership team in training and on game days. He’s passionate about this club and is fully deserving of the honour of leading the team out on Saturday night. The Bulls are another opportunity to take a step forward in our journey and everyone at the club is looking forward to welcoming them to Scotstoun tomorrow night.”
Vodacom Bulls head coach, Jake White, said: “I am very happy with how the guys have trained this week, in tricky weather conditions. We are in a good space as a team and have the wonderful opportunity to go out there against Glasgow and do what we need to do. Continuing to build on the momentum we already have from this campaign.
“It is still early days in this new campaign but if we continue to do the basics right week in and week out, everything else will also fall into place.”
Ulster v Ospreys
Kingspan Stadium, Belfast – KO 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA & SA
Referee: Ben Blain (SRU, 23rd league game)
AR 1: Paul Haycock (IRFU) AR 2: Andrew Fogarty (IRFU)
TMO: Andrew McMenemy (SRU)
Live on: BBC NI, S4C, Premier Sports, SuperSport, TG4, Discovery + & URC.tv
Ulster: Michael Lowry, Craig Gilroy, Luke Marshall, Stuart McCloskey, Rob Lyttle, Ian Madigan, John Cooney; Eric O’Sullivan, John Andrew, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor (Captain), Sam Carter, Nick Timoney, Jordi Murphy, Duane Vermeulen
Replacements: Declan Moore, Andy Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Frank Bradshaw-Ryan, Marcus Rea, Dave Shanahan, Billy Burns, Aaron Sexton
Ospreys: Max Nagy, Luke Morgan, Owen Watkin, Michael Collins, Keelan Giles, Stephen Myler, Reuben Morgan Williams, Gareth Thomas, Dewi Lake, Tom Botha, Rhys Davies, Huw Sutton, Will Griffiths, Jac Morgan, Dan Lydiate (capt).
Replacements: Scott Baldwin, Nicky Smith, Rhys Henry, Jack Regan, Morgan Morris, Rhys Webb, Jack Walsh, Joe Hawkins
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 9
Benetton v Dragons RFC
Stadio Monigo, Treviso – KO 14.45 IRE & UK / 15.45 ITA & SA
Referee: Sam Grove-White (SRU, 27th league game)
AR 1: Andrea Piardi (FIR) AR 2: Simone Boaretto (FIR)
TMO: Colin Stanley (SRU)
Live on: Discovery +, BBC Wales, Premier Sports, SuperSport & URC.tv
Benetton: Edoardo Padovani; Marcus Watson, Ignacio Brex, Tommaso Menoncello, Ignacio Mendy; Tomas Albornoz, Dewaldt Duvenage (capt); Ivan Nemer, Giacomo Nicotera, Simone Ferrari; Scott Scrafton, Federico Ruzza; Manuel Zuliani, Michele Lamaro, Lorenzo Cannone.
Replacements: Manuel Arroyo, Thomas Gallo,Tiziano Pasquali, Niccolò Cannone, Toa Halafihi, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Marco Zanon, Mattia Bellini
Dragons RFC: Angus O’Brien, Rio Dyer, Max Clark, Jack Dixon, Jared Rosser, JJ Hanrahan, Lewis Jones; Rob Evans, Elliot Dee, Chris Coleman, Joe Davies, Ben Carter (capt), Sean Lonsdale, Ben Fry, Aaron Wainwright
Replacements: Bradley Roberts, Rhodri Jones, Lloyd Fairbrother, Ross Moriarty, Taine Basham, Rhodri Williams, Sam Davies, Steff Hughes.
Benetton head coach, Marco Bortolami, said: “Dragons are a different team from the Scarlets, based their game mainly on set pieces. The work we will do ahead will once again be decisive. Dragons are a team that plays a much more concrete game, we must try not to let them play the ball forward in order to be in control of what happens. The strategic management of the game through kicking game, playing in the right areas will certainly be decisive.”
Luke Narraway, Forwards Coach at Dragons RFC, said: “We’re looking forward to the game in Italy. It’s important we look to maintain the levels we have hit in our last two home games.
“Benetton have international class running throughout their squad and a strong kicking game and set piece. Italian teams are always proud of playing at home in front of their own supporters and we must be prepared for that. We have got to make sure those emotional and physicality levels are matched and, off the back of that, I’m sure we can play