The two most successful teams in Vodacom Cup history, the MTN Golden Lions and GWK Griquas, face each other in a vital match for both sides as the race to the playoffs heat up.
With eight titles between them, the MTN Golden Lions and GWK Griquas have dominated the competition since the inception of the Vodacom Cup in 1998, having won four titles each.
Both teams need to return to winning ways if they are going to qualify for the next stage of the competition however, with the quarter-finals just three weeks away.
GWK Griquas, currently third in the North Section, have a slightly easier route to the playoffs than the MTN Golden Lions, who will treat Friday afternoon’s clash at the UJ Stadium in Johannesburg as a must-win.
Both these teams lost last week and to make matters even trickier for the MTN Golden Lions, they still have to travel to Nelspruit next week to face the log-leading Steval Pumas.
The pick of the matches in the South Section will kick off at DHL Newlands at 14h30 on Saturday afternoon, when the Vodacom Cup champions of 2011 and 2012, the ICBC Pampas XV and DHL Western Province, square off.
They occupy positions two and three on the log and are in good positions to make the playoffs, but defeat on Saturday could put a dent in their ambitions to gain that important home ground advantage in the quarters.
The front runners in the two sections, the Sharks XV (South) and Steval Pumas (North), play at home this weekend and should have too much fire-power for the Regent Boland Cavaliers and Assupol Limpopo Blue Bulls. Victory should be enough to secure both these top teams a place in the playoffs.
After losing at home last weekend, the Vodacom Blue Bulls and Toyota Free State XV will be hell bent on getting back to winning ways when they travel to Springs and Alice on Saturday to face the Valke and Border Bulldogs respectively.
This match is especially crucial for the Toyota Free State XV, after losing their last three matches. The Bulldogs, like the Assupol Limpopo Blue Bulls, have not won a single match yet this season.
Two interesting mid-table clashes are scheduled for Friday. In Potchefstroom, the Leopards XV will be looking to hang on to their second position on the North Section log against the Down Touch Griffons, who will be travelling to Profert Ölen Park in a confident mood after they beat the MTN Golden Lions last weekend.
And at the Central Grounds in Uitenhage, the EP Kings and SWD Eagles will fight it out to remain in playoff contention in the South Section, with the hosts probably in a better position following their good win over the Toyota Free State XV in Bloemfontein last weekend. The Eagles though can never be discounted, especially since they ran the Sharks XV close in George last Friday.
Round 5 fixtures:
Friday, 12 April
MTN Golden Lions v GWK Griquas
Venue: UJ Stadium, Johannesburg
Sharks XV v Regent Boland Cavaliers
Venue: Kings Park, Durban
Leopards XV v Down Touch Griffons
Venue: Profert Ölen Park, Potchefstroom
EP Kings v SWD Eagles
Venue: Central Grounds, Uitenhage
Saturday, 13 April
ICBC Pampas XV v DHL Western Province
Venue: DHL Newlands, Cape Town
Valke v Vodacom Blue Bulls
Venue: Hugenote High School, Springs
Steval Pumas v Assupol Limpopo Blue Bulls
Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Border Bulldogs v Toyota Free State XV
Venue: University of Fort Hare, Alice