Match Preview: Zebre Parma v Vodacom Bulls

Match Preview: Zebre Parma v Vodacom Bulls

While Zebre Parma may have lost their last 21 matches in the BKT URC, there is new found optimism in their camp after the way they have started the season.

They led at half-time against both Ulster and the Ospreys before going down to narrow defeats, picking up four bonus points along the way. Defence coach Richard Hodges - who has come on board after a decade with Cardiff Rugby - is encouraged by what he has seen.

“We have hugely improved our kicking game, our discipline has been good, our set piece is a threat and we’ve scored a maul try in each match,” he said. “People are starting to have a bit of respect back for Zebre. We are going in the right direction.
“I came here because I wanted a real challenge. Can we turn them from a side that’s a bit of a laughing stock at times into one that’s viewed differently? The perception was you just had to turn up against Zebre. The reality now is that people will take us seriously.

“We now go into three homes games - Bulls, Sharks, Cardiff. It won’t be easy, but our aim is to try and knock one of them over. I promise you, if we keep training like we do, we will win games this year.”

Fleet-footed Zebre wing Simone Gesi is the top try scorer in the BKT URC  after the opening two rounds with four, while flanker Elrigh Louw will be a key man for the Bulls, having made the joint most tackles (34).

Vodacom Bulls boss Jake White said: “Zebre were in both their opening games till the death,  so we know they will be tough opponents, for sure. We expect them to score a lot of points. They scored 36 in the opening match and 36 in their second, so they score a lot of tries. We expect a tough game and for them to test our defence really hard.”

Zebre Parma v Vodacom Bulls

Stadio Lanfranchi, Parma – KO 13.00 IRE & UK / 14.00 ITA / 15.00 SA

Referee: Frank Murphy (IRFU, 78th league game)

AR 1:  Clara Munarini (FIR)  AR 2: Manuel Bottino (FIR)

TMO: Olly Hodges (IRFU)

Live on: Sky Italia, Viaplay, Premier Sports, SuperSport, Flo Rugby &

Zebre Parma: Lorenzo Pani, Scott Gregory, Fetuli Paea, Enrico Lucchin, Simone Gesi, Geronimo Prisciantelli (CAPT), Alessandro Fusco, Danilo Fischetti, Marco Manfredi, Muhamed Hasa, Dylan de Leeuw, Andrea Zambonin, Guido Volpi, Iacopo Bianchi, Davide Ruggeri

Replacements: Giampietro Ribaldi, Luca Rizzoli, Ion Neculai, Leonard Krumov, Luca Andreani, Taina Fox-Matamua, Gonzalo Garcia, Jacopo Trulla

Vodacom Bulls:  Devon Williams Sebastian de Klerk, Stedman Gans, David Kriel, Sergeal Petersen, Johan Goosen, Zak Burger, Simphiwe Matanzima, Akker van der Merwe, Wilco Louw, Janko Swanepoel, Ruan Nortje (CO-CAPT), Marcell Coetzee (CO-CAPT), Elrigh Louw, Cameron Hanekom,

Replacements: Johan Grobbelaar, Dylan Smith, Mornay Smith, Reinhardt Ludwig, Nizaam Carr, Embrose Papier, Chris Smith, Wandisile Simelane

Latest News