With the Vodacom Bulls and Emirates Lions back at home after their early-season tours to the Northern Hemisphere, and the Hollywoodbets Sharks having settled in Durban, their fortunes may yet turn around, but the DHL Stormers will face a tough task in their final match on the road in Cardiff.

The Capetonians are on a three-game losing streak – their worst ever sequence in the Vodacom URC – and in Cardiff they will be facing the only Welsh team they have lost to so far in the competition when they run out at the Arms Park on Friday night.

Although Cardiff have won just one home game in the Vodacom URC in the past 12 months – by 30-13 against Benetton in February – they have beaten the DHL Stormers before.

In fact, the DHL Stormers’ only defeat to a Welsh region was 24-30 on their only previous visit to the Arms Park to face Cardiff in October 2022.

On Saturday, the Emirates Lions will be looking to avoid an Italian double when they host Zebre Parma in Johannesburg.

The South Africans have already lost to Benetton when they went down by 15-10 in the third round, and with Zebre high on confidence after arriving in South Africa unbeaten in their last two Vodacom URC fixtures, their best such run since 2018.

JC Pretorius during a hard training session in Johannesburg this week.

JC Pretorius during a hard training session in Johannesburg this week.

However, the Italians will have to break new ground in Johannesburg as they have not beaten the Emirates Lions yet, going down by 50-35 on their last visit to Gauteng.

Up the N1, the Vodacom Bulls are back at their fortress, Loftus Versfeld, for a tough outing against Irish province Connacht, fresh from their victory in Durban last weekend.

The men from Pretoria have lost just twice at Loftus Versfeld in the Vodacom URC since February 2022 – to the DHL Stormers and Emirates Lions in successive matches last February and March.

Connacht will be mindful that the Vodacom Bulls’ last five matches against Irish provinces have all gone the way of the home team, whilst no Irish side have managed to leave Pretoria with a victory.

The final match of the weekend involving a South African team is on Saturday evening in Durban, where the Hollywoodbets Sharks will be looking to turn their season around against the Dragons, a team they have not lost against.

The Durbanites have won just one of their last four fixtures against Welsh regions: 25-10 against Ospreys in Durban in December 2022, but the Dragons have not won away from home in the Vodacom URC since beating the Scarlets in Llanelli in April 2022.

Stedman Gans in action for the Vodacom Bulls against Cardiff.

Stedman Gans in action for the Vodacom Bulls against Cardiff.

Other matches this weekend are between Edinburgh and Benetton in the Scottish capital on Friday night, where South Africa’s Aimee Barrett-Theron is the referee; on Saturday Leinster take on Munster in Dublin and Glasgow Warriors host Ulster in Glasgow, and Sunday’s only match is in Swansea between Ospreys and Scarlets.

Match information:

Cardiff Rugby v DHL Stormers
Date: Friday, 24 November
Venue: Arms Park, Cardiff
SA Time: 21h35
Referee: Hollie Davidson (Scotland)
TV: SuperSport

Emirates Lions v Zebre Parma
Date: Saturday, 25 November
Venue: Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
SA Time: 14h55
Referee: Craig Evans (Wales)
TV: SuperSport

Vodacom Bulls v Connacht
Date: Saturday, 25 November
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
SA Time: 17h00
Referee: Gianluca Gnecchi (Italy)
TV: SuperSport

Hollywoodbets Sharks v Dragons
Date: Saturday, 25 November
Venue: Hollywoodbets Kings Park, Durban
SA Time: 19h05
Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)
TV: SuperSport