Rugby: South African franchises in Europe tour

Rugby: South African franchises in Europe tour

A revolution begins for the South African franchises engaged in the European Rugby Cups. They will start their competitions this weekend. Observers are waiting to see how they will perform.

At the end of last season, the announcement of the participation of South African franchises in European rugby competitions (Champions Cup and Challenge Cup) had caused much ink to flow. Many observers saw it as a heresy, even an aberration. A few months later, these teams will make their debut this weekend. The Stormers (based in Cape Town), the Bulls (from Pretoria) and the Sharks (Durban) will play in the Champions Cup. While the Lions (Johannesburg) and the Cheetahs (Bloemfontein) will play in the European Challenge.

The Bulls' coach, Jake White, is not fooled. He already has experience of the European Rugby Cup, and he expects a lot of adversity. "I've already experienced this competition as coach of Montpellier, and whether it's the Champions Cup or the Challenge Cup, it's incredibly difficult. Generally, the depth of these teams is much stronger than what we have become accustomed to in the URC (United Rugby Championship)."

Successful test in the United Rugby Championship
Before entering the European Cups, the South African franchises played in the United Rugby Championship last season. This tournament includes elections from the Welsh, Irish, Italian, Scottish and South African provinces. The Stormers won the trophy ahead of their compatriots the Bulls.

For their first Champions Cup, the Stormers will travel to Clermont. It will be a big challenge according to their coach John Dobson. "It's going to be a huge challenge, but we want to show that as URC champions we belong at the top," he began, before adding: "We're delighted to be starting off on the road against Clermont, although we understand that it's a formidable prospect. Dwayne Peel said it was one of the most incredible experiences in rugby. Apparently it is extremely intimidating to play there and you are up against a sea of yellow and blue.

South African teams schedule this weekend

Champions Cup

Saturday, December 10, 2022


Sharks- Harlequins

Challenge Cup

Exeter Chiefs-Bulls

Challenge Cup


Saturday 10th December 2022


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