MARK KEOHANE has delved into the history books to show that the local franchises can bounce back from a tough start on tour in the opening month of the Vodacom URC.
While the Vodacom Bulls currently top the table following the first four rounds of the new Vodacom URC campaign, Jake White’s side is the only South African team in the top eight of the competition.
The DHL Stormers (ninth) and bottom-of-the-table Sharks (16th) both suffered defeats in Italy and while the Lions left it late to stun the Scarlets in Llanelli, it was their first win of the season.
Writing for Keo.co.za, Keohane argued that history is set to repeat itself as the South African teams rebounded from a struggling start on tour in the inaugural Vodacom URC.
“It is said that the only thing a person learns from history is that they don’t learn from history,” Keohane wrote. “So, given this, let’s revisit the first two seasons of the URC. The Stormers, having travelled north in the first month, were one from five. They won the title. In the second season, Munster were one from six. They won the title.
“The URC is not won in the first month, but it is lost in the last month.”
Keohane provided further context to the Stormers’ narrow defeat to Benetton in Treviso, pointing out that the Italians are the only unbeaten team in the league, while John Dobson was without a quartet of World Cup-winning Springboks and had just five players in his starting lineup from last season’s final.
“[Dobson] has done it before and there is enough raw talent, combined with Frans Malherbe, Deon Fourie, Damian Willemse and Manie Libbok, to be confident the Stormers will be a title contender,” Keohane added.
“Equally, the Bulls, while the Lions will beat some big teams this season and the Sharks are too good, once their World Cup Boks return, to play second fiddle in Durban.”
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