July 21, 2024

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 04: Scotlands Pierre Schulman, WP Nel, Finn Russell, Stuart Hogg, Richie Gray, Matt Fagerson, Luke Crosbie during a Guinness Six Nations match between England and Scotland at Twickenham Stadium, on February 04, 2023, in London, England. (Photo by Ross MacDonald/SNS Group via Getty Images)

The URC will be guaranteed a new champion for the 2023/24 season, after Glasgow Warriors defeated last year’s champions Munster at Thomond Park. The Warriors travel once again to Pretoria to face the Vodacom Bulls in the final leg of the competition.Sky's the limit for Scotland's Jamie Ritchie despite recent blow | Scotland  rugby union team | The Guardian

The semi-final against Munster displayed Glasgow’s dynamism. Much of the game was dominated by defensive battles, especially in the opening 20 minutes. Going down to 14 men at two different points of the match, Glasgow showed why they have the best defence statistics in the league this season.

Pairing blitz defence with their wide-play style, Glasgow took the lead in the second quarter of the game. Munster couldn’t keep up. The Warriors fought off last year’s champions with patience, calm, and physicality to grab their place in the final.

Whilst the last visit to South Africa didn’t come away with the wins Franco Smith wanted, the Warriors did steal two losing bonus-points from the Vodacom Bulls. A late try under the posts by Duncan Weir gave Glasgow the edge at the end of the game. Those two points were crucial in securing a top four spot in the league table. The fixture showed both the box-kicking style of the Bulls and Glasgow’s resilience in defence and attack.

This time out at Loftus Versfeld, Glasgow Warriors will be striving to walk away with a win and to lift the URC trophy.

OPPOSITION LOWDOWN

Having displayed a fantastic offensive game against Leinster in the semi-final, the Vodacom Bulls defeated the Irish side 25-20. Despite Leinster fielding a team largely dominated by Ireland’s starting XV, Leinster couldn’t snuff out the Bulls’ accurate box-kicking.

The third try by Bulls’ winger Sergeal Peterson set the South African side apart from their Irish visitors. Securing the final on home turf, the Bulls will be looking for a repeat win against Glasgow from back in May.

Johan Goosen’s accurate kicking will be one to watch. The decisiveness displayed by the fly-half when taking penalties has separated them from winning or losing tight matches. Though striking the ball from great distances is aided by the elevation and climate of Pretoria, the Bulls are threatening in all areas of the park. Their kick and chase style helped them defeat Leinster.

Vodacom Bulls have won their last six Vodacom United Rugby Championship matches, their best run in the Championship, since Munster beat them 27-22 in Pretoria in Round 14. However, both sides have a record of 15 wins and five losses in the 2023/24 season.

The Bulls have only reached one previous final before, losing at that stage 13-18 to the Stormers in Cape Town in 2022.

Despite the Bulls’ home success record this season, Glasgow has the resilience and fitness to outperform the South African side on home turf.

 

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