The Sharks and DHL Western Province will have semifinal spots in their sights when they line up in the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division this weekend, while the Vodacom Blue Bulls and GWK Griquas will be fighting for survival as only three pool rounds remain.
The Sharks and Western Province need only three more log points from their remaining matches to secure their semifinal spots, although victories will nudge them closer to obtaining home semifinals.
On the lower end of the log, the Blue Bulls and Griquas harbour faint hopes of semifinal berths, as they would have to win all their remaining matches and hope that the MTN Golden Lions and Toyota Free State Cheetahs experience a severe slump to sneak into the semifinals.
However, the fact that they still have a mathematical chance is expected to fuel their motivation to win this weekend.
Saturday's clash in Kimberley is expected to be a tight affair as the GWK Griquas and the Vodacom Blue Bulls will be driven by desperation to stage a dramatic comeback in the series in the hope of sneaking into the semifinals despite the odds being stacked against them.
With both teams priding themselves on their forwards, the clash will be physical. But the teams will be hoping that the injection of pace and other skills to their starting teams through a few personnel changes will add something extra on attack.
Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar has made six changes to his team, which sees Handre Pollard reclaim the No10 jersey and centre William Small-Smith and lock David Bulbring earn their first starts for the Pretoria team.
Wing Sampie Mastriet, prop Marcel van der Merwe and fullback Jurgen Visser also earned starts.
Griquas coach Pote Human also made a handful of changes to his team with Marnus Hugo starting at scrumhalf and Richard Lawson on the wing, while centre JP Nel returns from injury.
GWK Griquas: Gouws Prinsloo; Richard Lawson, JP Nel, Howard Mnisi, Rocco Jansen; Francois Brummer, Marnus Hugo; Leon Karemaker, Burger Schoeman, Marnus Schoeman; Jaco Nepgen, Rory Arnold; Ewald van der Westhuizen, Ryno Barnes (capt), Steph Roberts. Replacements: Matthew Dobson, Brendan Pitzer, Patrick O’Brien, RJ Liebenberg, Jacques Coetzee, Du Randt Gerber, Jean Stemmet.
Vodacom Blue Bulls: Jurgen Visser; Sampie Mastriet, William Small-Smith, Francois Venter, Akona Ndungane; Handré Pollard, Rudy Paige; Jono Ross (capt), Jacques du Plessis, Wiaan Liebenberg; David Bulbring, Paul Willemse; Werner Kruger, Bandise Maku, Marcel van der Merwe. Replacements: Mbongeni Mbonambi, Dean Greyling, Grant Hattingh, Jacques Engelbrecht, Lohan Jacobs, Ulrich Beyers, Clayton Blommetjies.
Referee: Quinton Immelman
Assistant Referees: Pro Legoete, Francois de Bruyn
TMO: Gerrie Coetzee
Venue:GWK Park, Kimberley