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Checking on South African Teams' Performances in URC After Springboks’ 2023 Rugby World Cup Win
- The Bulls have won three of their first four matches to go top of the URC table
- The Stormers dropped to 2-2 after losing their last two games
- The Sharks have yet to win this season, losing their first four matches
The 2023 Rugby World Cup is over, with the Springboks claiming a record fourth title in France.
South African rugby fans now turn their attention to the United Rugby Championship, with the 2023-24 season already underway.
Sports Brief examines the four South African clubs’ performances in the URC thus far.
Bulls lead with 3-1 record
The Bulls have started the season like a house on fire, winning three of their first four matches to go top of the team standings with 15 points.
They opened their 2023-24 campaign with a comprehensive 63-21 victory over the Scarlets. The Bulls scored nine tries in the rout as they racked up the highest score against the Scarlets ever.
Such was their dominance that they already secured a bonus point inside just 24 minutes following tries by Ruan Nortje, Cameron Hanekom, and Johan Grobbelaar.
They bounced back after losing to Ulster 26-19 in Round 2, recording consecutive wins over Zebre and Cardiff Rugby.
David Kriel starred for the Bulls in their 54-29 win over Zebre, scoring a hat-trick of tries. Vodacom wreaked havoc in the second half, scoring five tries as they outscored the Parma-based side 33-14 in the final 40 minutes.
They continued their winning ways against Cardiff, recording an 18-12 victory in Wales.
The South Africans grabbed an early 12-0 lead, with scrum-half Embrose Papier and wing Sebastian de Klerk both scoring in the space of four minutes.
Cardiff battled back, though, with wing Mason Grady and centre Rey Lee-Lo scoring tries either side of half-time.
Fly-half Chris Smith sealed the victory for the Bulls, kicking two penalties in the second half, per the BBC.
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Stormers drop to 2-2
Stormers dropped to ninth place in the team standings after absorbing back-to-back losses in Rounds 3 and 4.
They started the season strongly, recording a 35-33 win over the Lions in their opening match.
Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu scored 16 points for the Stormers, who held off a furious fightback by the Lions.
The Stormers followed that up with a resounding 52-7 victory over the Scarlets, racking up eight tries in Stellenbosch.
Their unbeaten run ended in Scotland, with the Glasgow Warriors handing them a 20-9 loss.
All of the points were scored in the first half, with the Warriors’ three tries in the opening 40 minutes proving to be the difference.
They suffered another defeat on Saturday, losing 20-17 to Benetton in Treviso.
The Stormers had a late opportunity to seal a draw with a penalty in the 74th minute on the 22-metre line, per SARugbyMag.
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They opted for an attacking lineout instead, with that possession not producing any points.
Lions finally enter win column
The Lions opened the season with three straight defeats, losing to Stormers, Edinburgh, and Benetton.
They could have gone 3-0 during that stretch, with the Lions losing by a combined eight points in those three matches.
Luck finally smiled on the Lions last Saturday, with the South African side beating the Scarlets 24-23 in their Round 4 encounter.
The Lions scored the game’s final 10 points to turn a nine-point deficit with six minutes remaining to a thrilling one-point win in the end.
Louw, Botha, and Van Wyk scored tries for the Lions, who improved to 1-3.
Sharks remain winless after Zebre loss
The Sharks are in trouble. They are languishing at the bottom of the standings with just one point after losing each of their first four matches.
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They have struggled offensively this season, scoring a total of just 49 points in their losses to Munster, Leinster, Ospreys, and Zebre.
They hit their lowest point yet in the loss to Zebre, a team that headed into the contest with a 22-match losing streak.
The Sharks headed into the break with a 10-6 lead thanks to a penalty from Boeta Chamberlain and a Cameron Wright converted try.
They failed to score, however, in the second half, as Zebre claimed the famous win at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi.
Kolisi goes to Miami
Sports Brief recently reported on Siya Kolisi spending time at Inter Miami's home stadium.
The Springboks legend was with his family in Florida to catch the MLS club in action.
He was seen wearing Lionel Messi's iconic Argentina jersey.