2023 Munster Rugby vs Glasgow Warriors

2023 BKT URC Round 7: Exciting Rugby Clashes And Must-See Match Previews

2023 BKT URC Round 7: Exciting Rugby Clashes And Must-See Match Previews

Get ready for thrilling rugby clashes in Round 7 of the 2023 BKT United Rugby Championship. Catch live action, exclusively on FloRugby.

Dec 1, 2023 by Philip Bendon
2023 BKT URC Round 7: Exciting Rugby Clashes And Must-See Match Previews

Round 7 of the 2023 BKT United Rugby Championship is upon us. With several action-packed fixtures ahead, here is a match-by-match preview for the upcoming round. 

Fans from North American and United States' territories can catch all of the action live and exclusively on FloRugby. 

Munster Rugby Vs. Glasgow Warriors

It’s the champions against the new league leaders in what should be a cracking contest to kick off the weekend. 

Looking ahead to the Cork clash, Glasgow head coach Franco Smith said: “The BKT URC is such a competitive competition, yet traveling to Munster remains one of the most difficult challenges in the league. They are defending champions for a reason; they are a team filled with experience and international quality who know how to perform on the big stage. 

“It will be a huge challenge for us and we know we have to be at our best.” 

Smith gives a start to the league’s top try scorer, hooker Johnny Matthews, who took his tally to seven with a brace as a replacement in the 33-20 victory over Ulster last weekend. 

For host Munster, Ireland-raised prop Oli Jager is set to make his debut off the bench following his move from the Crusaders of New Zealand. 

Vodacom Bulls Vs. Hollywoodbets Sharks 

Vodacom Bulls boss Jake White is expecting a major challenge from a star-studded Hollywoodbets Sharks team, which will have renewed confidence after claiming its first victory of the season last weekend. 

“A lot of their players are world-class,” White said. “I was looking at their backline, all of them are Springboks, plus two of their reserves. It was only a matter of time before they got it right, and we saw them scoring 10 tries against the Dragons, and I am sure they will be a lot more confident after they got a win.”    

The Vodacom Bulls welcome back speedster Kurt-Lee Arendse, with Canan Moodie on the other wing and Willie le Roux completing a back three of World Cup winners. 

Arendse will go head to head with fellow Test winger Makazole Mapimpi, who was a try-scoring Player of the Match in the 69-14 demolition of Dragons RFC. 

“We are going to have four World Cup winners running out for us, and the Sharks are using their available World Cup winners as well," White added. “For the first time, the crowd will get the chance to see World Cup winners on the field, and I am hoping that will be a great boost for the fans.” 

Cardiff Rugby Vs. Scarlets

Wales’ World Cup scrum-halves Gareth Davies and Tomos Williams will go head to head in a mouth-watering individual battle at the Arms Park. They likely are to be the front-runners once again for the No. 9 jersey in the Six Nations, so it will be fascinating to see who comes out on top in this derby clash. 

It will be a real contrast in styles, with Davies bringing physicality, a forceful running threat and try-scenting support lines, while Williams is such a skillful operator, delivering the footwork and silky handling of a former basketball player. 

Giving his thoughts on his opposite number, Scarlets skipper Davies said: “I have played against Tomos loads of times now, and I’ve been with him in the Welsh camp for many years, so we know each other pretty well. 

“He’s a fantastic player. I have always rated him. I think he’s one of the best nines around at the moment. 

“So, it’s going to be a tough challenge for me to try and keep an eye on him.” 

The Scarlets head for the Arms Park off the back of a painful 31-9 defeat to the Ospreys in last Sunday’s West Wales derby. 

“It’s been a tough few days, to be honest,” said Davies.

“It was a very disappointing result. Basically, we just weren’t good enough. We lost probably every part of the game. We just weren’t there physically or mentally. 

“We have had a harsh review and a lot of harsh learnings. The boys have been honest at where we can be better. 

“Losing the derby in that style it was difficult. We have got to take it on the chin, and we’ve got to get better.” 

He added: “We know it’s going to be a tough game against Cardiff. They are off the back of a good win against the Stormers.  

“I enjoy playing at the Arms Park. It’s a cool stadium and always a great atmosphere up there. Hopefully, we can turn up as a team and put a good performance in.”

Cardiff’s Williams, who has shaken off the calf problem that kept him out of the 31-24 victory over the DHL Stormers, said: “You always want to beat the boys you are in the Wales camp with. 

“We are looking forward to it, especially Saturday afternoon. It doesn’t get much better than that. We haven’t played on a Saturday afternoon for a long time. I can’t wait for it. 

“The Scarlets took a tough defeat in a derby last weekend, so they will be looking to bounce back, and it will be a good challenge for us. They will be raring to go. We need to stand up to that challenge. It’s a big derby, and those are the games you want to win.

“It’s always a good game because the Scarlets play a good brand of rugby. They like to throw the ball about a bit and have a lot of threats across the park, while Matt Sherratt has given us a licence to express ourselves and try and play.”

Wales wing Josh Adams makes his first start of the season for Cardiff after recovering from a shoulder injury, while the Scarlets welcome back fit-again flanker Dan Davis. 

Emirates Lions Vs. Dragons RFC

Will Reed has been passed fit to start at No. 10 for Dragons RFC in Johannesburg after failing a HIA during last weekend’s heavy defeat to the Hollywoodbets Sharks. 

That’s welcome news for the Men of Gwent, with fellow fly-half options Cai Evans and Angus O’Brien both sidelined. 

Steff Hughes comes in to skipper the side from the center amid seven changes from the 69-14 loss in Durban, with head coach Dai Flanagan calling for a more collective approach and more consistency in style of play. 

The Emirates Lions have named an unchanged 23 following their 61-19 dismantling of Zebre last weekend. 

Ulster Rugby Vs. Edinburgh Rugby 

Two teams looking for a response following defeats in Round 6. 

Springbok World Cup-winning prop Steven Kitshoff makes his first start for Ulster, which has used more players - 46 - than any other side in the BKT URC so far this season. 

With the injured Blair Kinghorn missing his final game for Edinburgh before joining Toulouse, there’s a debut for Tim Swiel. 

The visitors' coach, Sean Everitt, said: “It’s set to be another massive test but one we’re looking forward to. We travel to Belfast with plenty of quality in our ranks.” 

DHL Stormers Vs. Zebre Parma 

The DHL Stormers are reinforced by the return of World Cup-winning Springboks Manie Libbok, Damian Willemse and Deon Fourie, as they look to bounce back from four straight defeats on tour in Europe. 

Key ball carrier Evan Roos also is fit to resume duties at No. 8 for the meeting with the Italian visitors at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch, joining breakdown ace Fourie and the athletic Hacjivah Dayimani in what looks to be a really well-balanced and potent back row. 

Head coach John Dobson said: “It has been a major boost to have the World Cup ‘Boks, plus a few other key players, back in the mix again.

“We were very disappointed with the results on tour, and this is a great opportunity for us to get some momentum going in front of our fans in Stellenbosch.” 

Connacht Rugby Vs. Leinster Rugby 

Ireland wing Mack Hansen makes his first appearance of the season for Connacht among seven changes from the side beaten 53-27 by the Bulls in Pretoria last weekend.

Head coach Pete Wilkins commented: “Mack’s return is a timely boost, and we are well capable of victory. 

“Leinster, at the Sportsground, is one of the marquee games you look forward to every season. You can feel the buzz of anticipation among both squad and supporters. With a sold-out crowd, it will be a fantastic occasion.” 

Scott Penny returns to captain Leinster from the openside flank, while hooker Ronan Kelleher makes his 50th appearance for the province. 

Benetton Rugby Vs. Ospreys 

Both sides will be in buoyant mood, with Benetton having won away in Edinburgh last weekend, and the Ospreys recording a sizeable victory over arch rivals the Scarlets. 

South African Marnus Van Der Merwe, on loan from the Toyota Cheetahs, makes his first start at hooker for Ospreys, which also gives opportunities to youngsters Tristan Davies and Luke Davies at blindside and scrum-half, respectively, while Welsh international fly-half Owen Williams returns from injury on the bench. 

For Benetton, Malakai Fekitoa and last week’s two-try hero Marco Zanon will form a potent center pairing. 

Credit to Simon Thomas and the BKT United Rugby Championship for the preview.