The Stormers will be kicking themselves as they imploded in the final 20 minutes of their match against Benetton to hand the Italian side victory.
The Lions staved off a fightback from Zebre to claim a pulsating win in Parma and ensure South Africa’s entry to the Vodacom United Rugby Championship began in triumphant fashion.
Bismarck du Plessis will make his Vodacom Bulls debut when they take on Leinster in the opening match of the Vodacom United Rugby Championship at Aviva Stadium, in Dublin on Saturday.
South African teams enter the new Vodacom United Rugby Championship this weekend and will face opposition in both Ireland and Italy in round one of the new competition. With this in mind, here is a brief primer on the four sides the SA teams will face and what to expect from them.
The Bulls, Sharks, Lions and Stormers have all been active in the buildup to this month’s inaugural Vodacom United Rugby Championship. SARugbymag.co.za tracks the latest moves ahead of the new tournament.
Ruan Pienaar will make his first appearance for the Sharks in 11 years in their opening Vodacom United Rugby Championship match against Munster on Saturday.
Jaco Kriel will start at openside flank for the Lions against Zebre in their first-ever Vodacom United Rugby Championship match in Parma on Friday night.
The Bulls and Sharks kick off the inaugural Vodacom United Rugby Championship as rank underdogs in prime-time bouts against the Irish heavyweights.
The defeat the Vodacom Bulls suffered in the Rainbow Cup final, coupled with the big wins scored by the British & Irish Lions in their tour matches, will motivate the South African teams to go on a quest for national redemption in this weekend’s opening round of the inaugural Vodacom United Rugby Championship.
Veteran hooker Bismarck du Plessis says he was about to walk away from rugby before Jake White called him with a last-minute offer to play for the Vodacom Bulls.