The rejuvenated Free State Cheetahs and defending Currie Cup champions Vodacom Bulls will both look to maximise home advantage in the semi-finals.
The Cheetahs host the Pumas in Bloemfontein on Saturday afternoon, while the Bulls face Griquas at Loftus Versfeld the night before, the Free Staters rediscovering their mojo at just the right time to defeat the Bulls 35-5 on Saturday night to seal top spot in the standings.
The men from Bloem’s splendid bonus-point win at Free State Stadium allowed them to pass the defending champions from Pretoria to the summit, finishing with one point more than Gert Smal’s charges.
Having successfully prevented the Bulls from gaining any points from the clash, the Cheetahs also earned the right to host the final should Hawies Fourie’s troops beat the Pumas on Saturday.
The Cheetahs finished the regular season with 10 wins but suffered one of just two defeats by the Pumas at home in the penultimate round of league action.
With nine wins, one loss and a draw after the round-robin stages, the Bulls will open the doors at Loftus to Griquas, a team that Smal’s troops have already beaten convincingly twice en route to the semis.
But, Griquas will travel to the Highveld on the back of having edged the Pumas in a 45-44 thriller in Nelspruit on Friday evening.
Replacement utility back Fiela Boshoff kicked a brilliant last-gasp penalty goal to snatch victory for the Pieter Bergh-coached side at the Mbombela Stadium.
The result meant Griquas – losing semi-finalists against the Sharks last season – finished third on the log, while the Pumas clinched fourth spot, although Western Province dashed the fifth-placed Sharks’ playoff hopes with a 28-21 win in Stellenbosch.
Bulls vs Griquas, Friday, 7pm, Pretoria
Cheetahs vs Pumas, Saturday, 1.30pm, Bloemfontein