2022 Ospreys Rugby vs Glasgow Warriors

United Rugby Championship Round 3 Games Of The Week: Ulster, Leinster Clash

United Rugby Championship Round 3 Games Of The Week: Ulster, Leinster Clash

There's already a lot to like about the trajectory the United Rugby Championship is on this season. Pressure will continue to mount as the season goes on.

Sep 27, 2022 by Briar Napier
United Rugby Championship Round 3 Games Of The Week: Ulster, Leinster Clash

There's already a lot to like about the trajectory the United Rugby Championship is on this season.

With each round in the massive, 16-team competition, the tension only rises, and the hunt for getting ahead in terms playoff qualification, European competition and shield play only amps up in pressure. Even in an 18-game regular season, every game and every point have major importance.

It's why even in Round 3, when the postseason seems so long away and any title challengers seem completely undefined, each club performing at its best has major implications for positioning in the table down the road. 

There are no gimme weeks in the URC, and any club that lets its guard down is in for a rude awakening.

Here's a look at the best games ahead on the United Rugby Championship slate for Round 3, with all matches in the competition being streamed live on FloRugby.

NOTE: All kickoff times are listed in Eastern Time and are subject to change.

Ulster Vs. Leinster

It may be an early occurrence this year, but usually when Ulster and Leinster meet in the United Rugby Championship, there are some serious title implications on the line between the two Irish rivals. 

That's no different in Friday's upcoming meeting, even just a couple rounds into the season. 

Having combined to win nine championships since the first iteration of the competition during the 2001-2002 season, both sides again are off to strong starts, sitting level at the top of the URC table with 10 points each through two matches. Belfast-based Ulster is ahead of Dublin-based Leinster in the table on point differential. 

If a winner is found following their showdown at Kingspan Stadium on Friday, that said victor will give itself a huge advantage in the early-season title picture, having sought off an expected challenger early on in the year. 

Both squads play fast, furious attacking rugby to great success, combining for 23 tries between them thus far this year, with Ulster scrum-half John Cooney leading the URC with 30 points scored. 

While the Ulstermen do have a talented squad capable of being a title favorite very late into the URC season this year, Leinster's roster reads like a who's who of the Irish national team over the past decade: Jonathan Sexton, Josh van der Flier and Robbie Henshaw are just a few of the familiar faces suiting up for the four-time European Champions. 

Expect fireworks in an exciting top of-the-table matchup.

Stormers Vs. Edinburgh

The Stormers set the standard for what South African clubs can achieve in the URC after it became the first team from the country (since South African teams were admitted to the competition in 2017) to win the whole thing, which happened last season. 

The tricky part now is repeating the feat, especially with a European Rugby Champions Cup campaign to balance it with later on in the year. 

A cut-and-dry 38-15 win over Connacht last week to start their quest for consecutive titles was a good start for the Stormers, who didn't play the Sharks as scheduled in Round 1. That match was postponed to February). The good vibes can continue for the Stormers, if the Cape Town-based club can edge past Edinburgh, as well. 

However, the Scottish club is looking for vengeance after playing the Stormers to a wild 20-20 draw in last year's regular season - a game in which every point was scored in the first half - and then fell to the South Africans in the quarterfinals of the URC playoffs. 

Already coming off a narrow loss to another South African side in Round 2, when the Bulls won on a very late penalty kick by Springboks legend Morne Steyn, Edinburgh will hope to take out those frustrations on the defending URC champions. 

With dangerous wingers like Darcy Graham and Damien Hoyland (seven combined tries), coach Mike Blair's side certainly has the firepower to pull it off.

Ospreys Vs. Glasgow Warriors

With just a few kicks of the ball, a few erased mistakes here and there and a bit smoother play all around, the Ospreys' standing in the URC could've been completely different. 

The holders of the Welsh Shield, the squad hailing from Swansea could only muster a draw against fellow Welsh side Scarlets in Round 1, before just barely missing out on a massive four points the next weekend in a 28-27 loss to the Lions, who got a winning try with under 10 minutes remaining from winger Edwill van der Merwe to seal the points and leave the Ospreys with merely a bonus point. 

With Wales being the weakest pool overall (judging by last season's results), and the Ospreys missing out on a URC playoff spot for the 2021-2022 season, despite their Shield win, every point gained, especially against non-Welsh opposition, matters greatly in the Ospreys' push toward playoff and European Champions Cup qualification. 

That's why it's extremely important for coach Toby Booth's men to put up a solid performance at the Swansea.com Stadium this weekend. However, against a Glasgow side that got a taste of Welsh blood in Round 2 - the Warriors put up eight tries against Cardiff in a 52-24 rout - it's going to be a task that's easier said than done. 

Still the only Scottish team to win a URC, as they did to conclude the 2014-2015 season, the Warriors are the standard bearers of Scotland's URC representatives and have a want to get back to that pinnacle, especially after they were unceremoniously dumped out of the playoffs by Leinster last season.