The United Rugby Championship has arrived!

The United Rugby Championship has gotten fully under way in the last few weeks and it has certainly proved to be more than an exciting start with plenty of tries scored in our first look at the competition


The United Rugby Championship is the latest iteration of what has been known as the Pro 12 or Pro 14. The competition has been through many chops and changes in the past. In the 2011 and 2012 seasons it was known as the Pro12. It stayed this way up until the 2017/18 season with the introduction of the first two South African teams to the Northern Hemisphere competition, the Southern Kings and the Cheetahs, making it the Pro 14. This season even more South African sides in the form of the Vodacom Bulls, Cell C  Sharks, Emirate Lions and the DHL Stormers have been introduced, thus creating the current URC.


A far more important feature of the URC is the ability it has to separate the club game from the international tests and the Six Nations. The idea is to allow the big names like Johnny Sexton time to actually play for Leinster instead of being in the international camp for most of the club season. International stars provided with more game time for their clubs should in theory raise the standard and quality of rugby and the competitiveness of the club game. Leinster have won the title a few years in a row and have been a dominant force for a while now. Hopefully the introduction of more South African sides and the internationals getting more time with their clubs will raise the competitiveness of the competition. 


The four Irish provinces have had a pretty strong start in the new URC with only one loss between them in the last two weeks.


Leinster kicked us off with an immensely dominating performance as they steamrolled past the new South African side, the Bulls with an impressive 31-3 win. captained by Johnny Sexton. Their dominance was not mirrored however in their game against the Dragons, but they managed to pull through with a tight 7-3 win. Munster have had a similarly encouraging start to their season with a 34-18 win over the Stormers and another against the Sharks. Ulster ploughed through Zebre with 36-3 accompanied by a nice 35-29 point win over Glasgow Warriors. Finally Connacht shared in the spoils, dishing out a second pummeling on the scoreboard for Bulls, 34-7. Unfortunately however they suffered a loss to the Cardiff Blues 33-21. All in all the four provinces have made more than an impact in the first year of the URC.


The United Rugby Championship has started strong with plenty of exciting, high scoring games with the promise of big international names featuring more often for their clubs. On top of that, the return of some international stars to their home clubs is something no one can complain about. Hopefully the URC will continue with this form right till the end.


Luke Carton

Image Credit: Wikipedia