Still winless in the opening rounds of the Vodacom Cup, under pressure defending champions DHL Western Province will be a looking to get their campaign back on track when they travel to Port Elizabeth to face the EP Kings on Friday evening.
Province can expect a tough encounter from the hosts at the NMMU Stadium, who will be looking to extend their unbeaten start to three matches, following their draw and win in the previous fixtures. Kick-off is at 19:00.
The second Friday night fixture takes place at Profert Olën Park, Potchefstroom between the Leopards XV and the Valke.
The Leopards created history last week with their massive 113-3 win over newcomers Assupol Limpopo Blue Bulls. However, on Friday evening they can expect a much tougher examination from the Valke, who managed to beat the MTN Golden Lions 27-22 in a close fought affair last weekend.
A win for any of the two sides will temporarily lift them into second spot on the North Section log as the rest of the fixtures are all scheduled for Saturday.
The Sharks XV get the action underway on Saturday when they host the Toyota Free State XV at Kings Park in Durban. This fixture always produces entertaining rugby and The Sharks XV will especially be determined to keep their 100 % start to the season intact.
Last season, The Sharks XV won this corresponding match 51-38 in Bloemfontein.
Up north, another intriguing clash is looming at Ellis Park between MTN Golden Lions and arch-rivals the Vodacom Blue Bulls.
The Blue Bulls outscored the Golden Lions by 49-10 in the 2012 fixture and the Pretoria outfit will be eager to bounce back to winning ways after going down to North Section leaders, Steval Pumas, in a nail-biting affair in the previous round.
Four-time champion GWK Griquas travels to Groblersdal for a meeting with rookies Assupol Limpopo Blue Bulls. The Limpopo team has found the going extremely tough in their debut season and another busy afternoon awaits them against a Griquas outfit that is yet to fire on all cylinders.
The battle of the week in the South Section is undoubtedly the derby clash at picturesque Robertson between hosts Regent Boland Cavaliers and the SWD Eagles.
Last week, Boland won a tough battle against the Free State, while the Eagles lost at home by just five points against the Argentine Pampas. SWD’s two matches have only yielded a single log point so far while Boland – nowadays without the services of former captain Bolla Conradie, who has returned to WP - is unbeaten after a win and a draw.
In the remaining matches of the weekend Standard Bank Pampas entertain the Border Bulldogs in Stellenbosch, while Steval Pumas will be looking for their third successive win against Down Touch Griffons at the Nelspruit Rugby Club.
Round 3 fixtures are:
Friday, 22 March
EP Kings vs. DHL Western Province
Venue: NMMU Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Leopards XV vs. Valke
Venue: Profert Olën Park, Potchefstroom
Saturday, 23 March
Sharks XV vs. Toyota Free State XV
Venue: Kings Park, Durban
MTN Golden Lions vs. Vodacom Blue Bulls
Venue: Ellis Park Stadium
Assupol Limpopo Blue Bulls vs. GWK Griquas
Venue: Chris Wiid Stadium, Groblersdal
Regent Boland Cavaliers vs. Southwestern Districts
Venue: Robertson Rugby Club
Standard Bank Pampas vs. Border Bulldogs
Venue: AF Markötter Stadium, Stellenbosch
Steval Pumas vs. Down Touch Griffons
Nelspruit Rugby Club, Nelspruit