A number of top clubs enter Saturday’s second round of the Gold Cup, fighting to keep their hopes alive to advance past the group stages.
In Pool A, Progress will be at home again after losing their opening round clash 35-7 to Durbell. This time they host Villagers, with both teams knowing that a second defeat will almost certainly eliminate them from the competition.
Meanwhile, Durbell host Rhinos in Cape Town, both sides having their sights set on topping the log and possibly avoiding 2017 finalists College Rovers in the quarter-finals.
Rovers’ advance to the playoffs is definitely not a foregone conclusion. The Durbanites must travel to Uitenhage to face EP champions Gardens, who will be keen to bounce back from a 19-14 home defeat to Secunda. Another loss for Gardens will almost certainly see them fail to progress past the pool stage.
In Pool C, Naka Bulls host Welkom in Pretoria, with both teams one victory away from likely qualification for the last eight.
Sishen, who picked up an invaluable away bonus point in their loss to the Naka Bulls, will welcome the Bloemfontein Police.
In Pool D, the match of the weekend sees 2014 and 2016 Gold Cup champions Rustenburg Impala hosting the high-flying Swallows, who somewhat surprisingly won their campaign opener against Springs last weekend.
In the same group, Roodepoort and Springs will do battle in a curtain raiser for the Vodacom Super Rugby match between the Lions and Rebels at Ellis Park.
Round 2 fixtures:
4pm: Progress George v Villagers Worcester (Rosemoor Stadium, George)
4pm: Durbanville-Bellville v Rhinos (Durbell Rugby Club, Cape Town)
3:30pm: Gardens v College Rovers (Derrick Ferreira Stadium, Uitenhage)
4pm: East Rand United v Secunda (Reiger Park Sports Ground, Ekurhuleni)
4pm: Naka Bulls v Welkom (Naka Bulls RFC, Pretoria)
4pm: Sishen v Bloemfontein Police (Sivos Stadium, Kathu)
11:45am: Roodepoort v Springs (Ellis Park, Johannesburg)
4pm: Rustenburg Impala v Swallows (Impala Rugby Club, Rustenburg)
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images