THE rugby community of Mossel Bay will come to a standstill on Saturday when local side Barbarians host Kempston Old Selbornians in a Cell C Community Cup Pool A match that could well decide the fate of the two sides in this year's tournament.
And elsewhere around the country, similar crunch ties will play themselves out in Malmesbury, Roodepoort, Oudtshoorn, Boksburg, Cape Town, Welkom and Brakpan as the penultimate round of pool action in SARU's flagship tournament for non-university clubs looks set to confirm who will join Roodepoort and defending champions Gap Management Despatch in next month's play-offs in George.
With six quarter-final places at Outeniqua Park on 17 April still up for grabs, the likes of Barbarians, G5 Metals Brakpan, Refreshhh! Centurion, Wesbank and Shumba Ferros will be looking for victories that could keep them in the play-off hunt.
In Pool A, unbeaten Old Selbornians travel to D'Almeida Stadium on Saturday knowing that victory over the Barbarians will guarantee qualification, and set up a fight for the top spot in the group when they host Despatch in East London in the final round next Saturday.
Pool B's top-of-the-table clash comes a week early, with Jonsson College Rovers travelling to Rand Leases to take on Roodepoort in a match that will decide who tops that group.
Pool C leaders Roses United, with 13 points from 3 matches, have a bye this weekend but look set to qualify regardless, although there is still a mathematical chance that both G5 Metals Brakpan, who host bottom-placed BB Truck Noordelikes, and unbeaten Refreshhh! Centurion, who are away to Kaufela Boksburg, can still overtake them.
Adding spice to the permutations is that Centurion host Brakpan next weekend in the final round.
Pool D heavyweight Rustenburg Impala and Hamiltons are both unbeaten and are in pole position to advance, but Impala face a tricky away match in Malmesbury against Wesbank, while Hammies are at home to Ferros.
Upcoming Cell C Community Cup fixtures (all kick-off times 16h00 unless otherwise indicated):
Round 4 – Saturday 29 March:
Match 25 (Pool A) – Mossel Bay Barbarians vs Kempston Old Selbornians (D'Almeida Stadium, Mossel Bay)
Match 26 (Pool A) – Bridgton vs Spring Rose (Bridgton Sports Grounds, Oudtshoorn)
Match 27 (Pool B) – Eagle Towing Rovers vs E-Car Welkom (Rovers Rugby Club, Welkom, 17h00)
Match 28 (Pool B) – Roodepoort vs Jonsson College Rovers (Rand Leases Sports Ground, Roodepoort)
Match 29 (Pool C) – G5 Metals Brakpan vs BB Truck Noordelikes (Bosman Stadium, Brakpan, 18h00)
Match 30 (Pool C) – Kaufela Boksburg vs Refreshhh! Centurion (Prince George Park, Boksburg)
Match 31 (Pool D) – Wesbank vs Rustenburg Impala (Wesbank Sports Grounds, Malmesbury)
Match 32 (Pool D) – Hamiltons vs Shumba Ferros (Stephan Oval, Green Point, Cape Town)
Byes: Gap Management Despatch, Bloemfontein Crusaders, Roses United, Aveng Moolmans Sishen.