The race for play-off spots and home-ground advantage in the six-team Absa Currie Cup Premier Division hots up this weekend with only three rounds remaining for teams to break clear from the pack and book their places in the final four.
Six doesn't go into four, and at this stage of the season it's the bottom-of-the-table Toyota Free State Cheetahs, with just 12 points from their seven matches, who have the most ground to make up if they are to stake a semi-final claim.
Naka Drotské's men are at home to fourth-placed GWK Griquas on Saturday, whom they trail by just three points. The Cheetahs will be looking for a similar performance to that which they delivered in Kimberley last month when they came away from GWK Park with a 29-16 win.
In Saturday's other match – both of which kick off at the earlier time of 14:00 to accommodate the Springboks' Castle Rugby Championship Test against Australia at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria – third-placed DHL Western Province, on 20 points, entertain table-topping defending champions the MTN Golden Lions at Newlands.
The Lions, despite losing the likes of flyhalf Elton Jantjies and utility back Jaco Taute to Springbok duty, will be full of confidence following their 28-22 victory over the Sharks in Johannesburg last week – a result which took the Gauteng side to 24 points – three clear of their Durban-based rivals and four ahead of WP.
And in the weekend's first match, the fifth-placed Vodacom Blue Bulls, on 13 points, travel to Durban to take on the second-placed Sharks, having been buoyed by their 34-30 win in Pretoria last weekend over the Cheetahs – a result which ended a lean spell for coach Pine Pienaar and his men.
Vodacom Blue Bulls flyhalf Louis Fouché tops the Premier Division point-scoring log after Round 7, with 102 points made up of 12 conversions, 25 penalties and a drop goal. Behind Fouché in tied second place are Sharks centre Meyer Bosman on 91 and WP flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis on 88.
Sharks wing Odwa Ndungane, Cheetahs wing Raymond Rhule and Blue Bulls loose forward CJ Stander are the joint top try-scorers with five touchdowns apiece.
This weekend's fixtures – Round 8:
Sharks vs Vodacom Blue Bulls
Date: Friday, 28 September
Venue: Mr Price Kings Park, Durban
Referee: Mark Lawrence
Assistants: Ben Crouse, Reuben Rossouw
Television Match Official: Johann Meuwesen
Last meeting: 25 August in Pretoria (First round): Blue Bulls won 42-31
DHL Western Province vs MTN Golden Lions
Date: Saturday, 29 September
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Referee: Marius Jonker
Assistants: Christie du Preez, Linston Manuels
Television Match Official: Deon van Blommenstein
Last meeting: 25 August in Johannesburg (First round): Lions won 26-23
Toyota Free State Cheetahs vs GWK Griquas
Date: Saturday, 29 September
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Referee: Jason Jaftha
Assistants: Marius van der Westhuizen, Francois de Bruin
Television Match Official: Gerrie Coetzee
Last meeting: 25 August in Kimberley (First round): Cheetahs won 29-16