The final local pool derbies of the United Rugby Championship (URC) are scheduled to take place on Saturday at the Loftus and Cape Town stadiums. Bulls welcoming the Lions and Stormers hosting the Sharks.
It’s a vital weekend for all four South African franchises as they try to reach their goals in the competition.
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Including games this weekend, there are only four pool games left for each team and with three South Australian teams chasing the top four and one trying to make it to the playoffs, this is a crucial weekend.
The Stormers are the most comfortable SA team in the URC magazine and look like they will secure second place behind runaway leader Leinster.
They will be looking to score five points against the Sharks this weekend and considering they beat them in Durban a few weeks ago, they will be hot favorites to do just that.
The Sharks, however, will be getting desperate and it will be interesting to see if this inspires them to play harder against the hosts.
The Durban team have really struggled without their Springbok stars this season, as evidenced by their hard home loss to the Stormers and their Embarrassing defeat by international sheared Ulster over the past weekend, and they know that one more loss will, in fact, destroy their chances of getting into the top four.
Top four places
The other South African franchise in contention for the top four is the Bulls, and they will be looking to get back on track with a full scoring record against the Lions.
The Bulls have lost their last two games in the tournament, an unfortunate loss to the Scarlets in Wales late last month, but they improved a lot when they lost to the Stormers at home just two weekends ago.
With teams leading them in the magazine, the Munster and Glasgow Warriors, both expected to win their games this weekend, the Bulls understand that a win over the Lions is necessary to keep them in hunting for a place in the top four.
The Lions themselves are desperate to continue their recovery after suffering a catastrophic loss of form last weekend.
The Lions lost their previous five games to the URC and fell from fifth on the table to 14.thBut Superb win in bonus points over Glasgow raised them to 12th and put them back in the top eight chase, but a loss to the Bulls could have ended their chances.