2022 Connacht Rugby vs Leinster Rugby

United Rugby Championship Round Four Preview and Predictions

United Rugby Championship Round Four Preview and Predictions

United Rugby Championship 2022 Round Four Preview and Predictions. Joey Carbey at fullback for Munster, Duhan van der Merwe returns and Champions on tour.

Oct 6, 2022 by Philip Bendon
United Rugby Championship Round Four Preview and Predictions

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day… That will be the mantra for a number of teams heading into round four of the United Rugby Championship 2022.

A handful of big-name teams need to get their campaigns back on track whilst for others the march towards play-offs continues in earnest. 

Now down to four undefeated teams remaining, round four is a “separator” round. Can the top four undefeated teams keep their record intact or will their competitors reel them in? Only time will tell but you can watch all of the action unfold right here on Flo Rugby. 


Game Of The Week

Only one choice for this week and that is the clash of two genuine title contenders as the Sharks travel to Dublin to take on Leinster. 

Dublin is one of the toughest venues for visiting teams as the eight-time champions rarely lose at either the RDS of Aviva Stadium. In saying this their latest defeat came at the hands of South African opposition as the Bulls disposed of them in last season’s semi-final. Thus, the Sharks arrival presents head coach Leo Cullen and his side with an opportunity to redeem themselves. 

Key to their woes against the Bulls was an inability to match the physicality, ironically it could well be a South African who helps them get over this issue. One-time capped Springbok and former Munster second row Jason Jenkins has been a revelation thus far this season. At 6’7” and 130kg, Jenkins is a gain line wrecker and looks to be the missing piece to an otherwise impeccably well-rounded Leinster team. Having never quite realised his potential at Munster, Jenkins impact at Leinster has been well noted by his coaches and teammates.

For the visitors head coach Sean Everitt will be looking for a marked improvement from his side who despite starting the season with two wins have not shown a full eighty-minute performance. No doubt the return of their world class Springbok stars will boost the Durban side but for the here and now the rest of the squad will need to show a resiliency in the face of what will be immense Leinster pressure.  

Who Wants It More?

Getting the weekend’s action underway are two teams in desperate need of a reset in Munster and Connacht. Galway’s sports ground welcomes their team home for the first time this season following what has been a brutal start to the season for Andy Friend’s squad. Playing against three teams who are true title contenders on the road was always going to be a big task but emerging with zero points remains a disappointing return.  

For Munster beating Zebre in Cork 21 – 5 whilst not scoring a single point in the second half is nothing to write home about. Simply put Graham Rowntree’s team appear undermanned despite possessing a number of seasoned internationals. Clearly missing their Emerging Ireland representatives, Munster have been lacklustre to start the season.

Whilst there is certainly a negative undertone surrounding the two sides, picking up a derby win would be a huge boost. Overall, the two sides have played each other 99 times since 1946 with Munster holding a substantial advantage with 85 wins. It is worth noting however that Connacht won the last meeting between the two side 10 – 8.  

Class of 2021/22 Go On The Road

Last year’s finalists the Stormers and Blue Bulls have taken the show on the road as they head north for the first time this season.

Both sides have looked impressive in their early season outings and will leave South African shores with heaps of confidence and plenty of log points.

Neither side face particularly daunting tours outside of the Bulls trip to Limerick to take on Munster. Therefore, both will have a realistic chance of reaching round seven undefeated and don’t have to return north until December for their Heineken Champions Cup clashes.

For European fans, the opportunity to witness the best of South Africa’s deep talent pool further compounds the narrative that the URC is in a very healthy position from which to continue it’s growth.


A Lion Returns For Edinburgh 

Despite losing two of their open three fixtures, Edinburgh have built on last season and look much improved in 2022. Head coach Mike Blair has bedded in a great blend of attacking and tactical rugby that makes the Scots a tough out for just about anyone. 

In huge boost for the side they have now secured the signing of Scottish and Lions international Duhan van der Merwe.  

A physical menace with ball in hand, van der Merwe’s signing comes on the back of English Premiership side Worcester Warrior’s much publicized financial issues. 

Combining with Emiliano Boffelli and D’Arcy Graham, van der Merwe offers Blair’s coaching staff a truly world class back three. 


Match Predictions

Connacht vs Munster

Details on this fixture are provided above. Both sides need a win but Munster are a better team and need to start clicking to have any chance of being title contenders this season. Munster by 5.

Edinburgh vs Lions

The Lions norther tour has been a resounding success, two wins in Wales has got their season off to a brilliant start. Edinburgh have played some great rugby but need to start registering some wins following back-to-back losses. The Scottish side are a rung above the Welsh sides that the Lions have grown accustomed too and will end the Lions tour on a down note. Edinburgh by 10.

Zebre vs Stormers

John Dobson’s Stormers have had a pretty cushy start to the season and their tour begins in a similarly easy manner. Zebre put up a great fight in the first two rounds before having a poor outing against Munster. The Italians issues are simple, they concede too many points early and are constantly playing catch up. Injuries are also mounting for the hosts whilst the Stormers look insanely explosive this season. Stormers by 15.

Leinster vs Sharks

Clash of the round, details of this match above. Leinster by 10.

Scarlets vs Cardiff

A big Welsh derby, despite both being middling teams so far this season this clash will have plenty of sparks flying. Passionate home crowds, international places up for grabs and some great young talent makes this an intriguing fixture. Scarlets look to be the better side at the moment with flyhalf Sam Costelow proving to be quite the find and has all the makings of an international player. Scarlets by 8.

Ulster vs Ospreys

A first loss of the season to a bitter rival in Leinster will have Ulster baying for blood. The Ospreys have been mixed so far this season and simply won’t live with the pressure and pace of their hosts. The Kingspan will be rocking as Ulster get back on track. Ulster by 16. 

Glasgow vs Bulls

An interesting proposition where an upset is not outside of the realms of possibility. On paper the Bulls are far the superior side, but teams do tend to struggled on the fast 4G Scotstoun pitch. Despite the feeling that an upset is on the cards, my brain says the Bulls will take it. Bulls by 6.

Benetton vs Dragons

A battle between two sides that have surprised everyone this season, Benetton are a real chance for a play-off spot this season whilst the Dragons have shown they are building nicely around a young core. It will be an interesting clash, but the Italians will roll to another victory that bumps them into the top five on the table. Benetton by 10.

Written by Philip Bendon