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An Irish / South African Affair

The United Rugby Championship dished up some stellar performances in the quarter-finals which saw two South African and two Irish sides progress to the semi-finals which will take place on Friday and Saturday. The first will be played over at the RDS Arena in Ireland and the second fixture will be hosted down at the Stormers new home in Cape Town Stadium.

The first quarter-final fixture saw Ulster steal the win over Irish counterparts Munster (36 - 17) with a solid attacking performance coming off the back of a sturdy platform provided by their forwards. Munster coach Johan van Graan would have hoped to end his tenure on a better note as he bows out, but alas it was not meant to be. Ulster's attacking prowess was on display on Friday night and they will be hoping they can replicate it when they travel to Cape Town.

In an early start a Loftus the Blue Bulls snatched a 30 - 27 victory with a Chris Smith drop goal after the hooter. The Bulls were deserving of the victory as they toppled a side which boasted 9 Springboks in its starting line-up. Jake White has very clearly made his mark on the team and they are a well coached outfit, who also know how to win finals rugby, with every trophy on offer, except the URC, currently residing in Pretoria.

Whilst almost anyone would have picked Leinster to beat Glasgow Warriors, it was the absolute slaughtering of their Scottish opponents which has everyone taking notice. Leinster could have come out misfiring and despondent after their Champions Cup Final defeat a week earlier, but misfire they did not. In a clinical performance they scored 76 points to the Warriors 14 and remain with the favorites tag fastened to their jersey.

The final game of the weekend saw the Stormers earning a hard fought 28 -17 win over Edinburgh to secure their spot for a home semi-final. Evan Roos was on fire in the pack, rightly earning man of the match for his efforts. The Stormers were missing some Bok magic in Damian Willemse, but that didn't slow the backline down at all and Senatla scored a great try out wide. The Stormers are South Africa's in form side and they have been for the whole year so far, they just need to stick to what's been working for them all season.

With Glasgow Warriors, Edinburgh, Sharks and Munster all dropping out in the quarter-finals, we are left with two South African sides and two Irish sides fighting it out. Leinster will host the Bulls at the RDS Arena tonight at 20:35, before attention turns to Cape Town tomorrow at 15:00 for the Stormers v Ulster game. Which countries will remain in the final... that remains to be seen.

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