The Vodacom United Rugby Championship kicks off this weekend and in the lead-up to the new 2023-24 season, fans of the teams were asked to rate which opposition teams they love to beat, and which players they love the most.
DHL Stormer and Springbok electric flyhalf Mannie Libbok came out top of the Vodacom URC fan survey, followed closely by Vodacom URC-winning Munster captain & Ireland star Peter O’Mahony and DHL Stormers’ power runner Damian Willemse.
Although entering only its third season some clear rivalries are appearing amongst fan bases. Leinster Rugby have the highest win percentage in Vodacom URC and are unsurprisingly the team that fans of other clubs want to beat the most.
Second overall was Munster (Leinster and DHL Stormers top teams to beat) followed by DHL Stormers (in the top three for the other South African teams as well as Leinster and Munster themselves). Regional rivalries are well and truly alive, with all fan bases selecting at least one of their regional rivals in their top three.
Fans of Vodacom URC teams also frequently have a soft spot for other competing teams. The most popular “second team” was Connacht who has the support of all other Irish Provinces. Champions Munster also faired well as “frienimies” of the other Irish Provinces and all South African teams. Ulster Rugby came in third, well-liked by both Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh.
DHL Stadium in Cape Town, home to the DHL Stormers and the host of both Grand Finals was voted Vodacom URC’s fans favourite stadium. Thomond Park (Munster) and Kingspan (Ulster) rounded out the top three.
URC Fans Team They Love to Beat
1 Leinster Rugby
2 Munster Rugby
3 DHL Stormers
4 Glasgow Warriors
URC Fans Second Favourite Teams
1 Connacht Rugby
2 Munster Rugby
3 Ulster Rugby
4 Benetton Rugby
URC Fans Best Stadium (excluding their own)
1 DHL Stormers (DHL Stadium)
2 Munster Rugby (Thomond Park)
3 Ulster Rugby (Kingspan Stadium)
4 Leinster Rugby (RDS Arena)
URC Fans Favourite Player
1 Manie Libbok
2 Peter O’Mahony
3 Damian Willemse
4 Garry Ringrose
5 Darcy Graham
6 Josh van der Flier
7 Steven Kitshoff
8 Evan Roos
9 Deon Fourie
10 John Cooney
Photo; Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix