The Vodacom URC standings do not accurately represent the SA teams’ playoff challenge, especially given the advantage of playing in the Republic, argues MARK KEOHANE.
The Vodacom Bulls are in third position on the log, the Lions in ninth place, while the DHL Stormers and Sharks are in 10th and 15th, respectively.
After seven consecutive rounds, the URC now takes a break as all 16 teams turn their attention to the Champions and Challenge cups.
When the competition resumes on the weekend of 22 and 23 December, the Stormers and Bulls lock horns in a mouth-watering derby clash in Cape Town. The round 8 fixture between the Sharks and Lions is scheduled for 6 January.
Writing on his blog keo.co.za, Keohane attributes the struggles of the Stormers and Sharks overseas to adapting to weather conditions and 4G pitches.
He notes that weakened local squads without World Cup-winning Springboks for the first four weeks have contributed to the slow start.
Keohane anticipates a strong comeback, especially for the Stormers, with home derbies against the Bulls and Sharks offering the inaugural URC champions an opportunity to climb back up the league table.
“The Bulls are unbeaten at home, with three from three, and have hammered every opponent played at Loftus this season,” he writes.
“The Lions are also unbeaten at home and are two from two and the Stormers, having played their first two home matches at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch, are also two from two.
“Victories [for the Stormers] in those two home matches will immediately impact the league and propel the Stormers back into the top four.”
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