Jacques van der Westhuyzen

By Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Head of Sport


URC state of play: Bulls sitting pretty, Lions in must-win against Stormers

The calculators will be at hand in what promises to be a thrilling final round of matches in this season's URC competition.


Lions boss Ivan van Rooyen says there will be “no better occasion” than when his team take on the Stormers in Cape Town next weekend in the final round of matches in this season’s United Rugby Championship.

Having won their last two games, against Benetton and Glasgow Warriors, the Lions have a chance on the final day of the regular season to finish in the top eight for a place in the competition’s quarter-finals.

However, they have to beat the Stormers and possibly pick up five log points and hope other results go their way for Van Rooyen’s men to make it into the playoffs.

Currently, the Lions are ninth with 49 points, and ahead of them on the log, and also in a battle to make the top eight, are Benetton (eighth, 49), Edinburgh (seventh, 49) and Ulster (sixth, 53) and the Stormers (fifth, 54).

Making things more interesting is the fact Benetton and Edinburgh will clash in Treviso, while Ulster are away to Munster, who are now the new log-leaders.

Lions v Stormers in Cape Town

There is no doubt a number of matches will have an impact on who finishes where and qualifies for the playoffs.

“We’re just going to have to stick to our processes, freshen up this week and then get the bodies ready to follow the mind next week,” said Van Rooyen ahead of this week’s bye weekend when the Challenge and Champions Cup finals will be contested in London.

The Sharks take on Gloucester in the Challenge Cup final, while Leinster face Toulouse.

“There will be no better occasion next weekend. The Stormers are an exceptional team with lots of X-factor … and if we play to that they’ll punish us,” added Van Rooyen. “We’ll have a good look at how we want to take them on.”

The Stormers, who won two out of two on their mini tour of Europe, are fifth on the points table, six off fourth-placed Glasgow, and cannot move into the top four, while the Bulls are second with 61 points, two off leaders Munster. The Pretoria team face the Sharks, who’ll have nothing to play for, in Durban in their final game.

Leinster are third with 60 points and host Connacht in their final game.

Final round fixtures

Friday, May 31

Leinster v Connacht, Glasgow Warriors v Zebre Parma

Saturday, June 1

Stormers v Lions, Benetton v Edinburgh, Scarlets v Dragons, Sharks v Bulls, Munster v Ulster, Cardiff Rugby v Ospreys

For the full points table click here.

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