Stormers scrumhalf Jano Vermaak will make his return from injury in Western Province’s match against Eastern Province at Newlands on Saturday.
The 34-year-old has not played since picking up an injury in the Stormers’ second-round clash against the Lions. He comes into the Western Province starting lineup with centre EW Viljoen and tighthead prop Michael Kumbirai.
With Western Province threatening to disappear over the horizon in the South Section, at least four teams will be keen to make decisive moves in the fifth round of the Rugby Challenge this weekend.
The Capetonians have accumulated the maximum of 20 log points so far, with Boland (15), the Free State Cheetahs XV (15), Sharks XV (11) and EP Elephants (10) the other teams who scored two or more wins halfway through the pool stage.
The first of those clashes is in George this weekend, where the SWD Eagles could prove a real spoiler for the Cavaliers at Rosemore Stadium. The Sharks XV (against Border in Durban) and the Free State Cheetahs XV (against Zimbabwe Academy in Constantia) will start their matches as favourites to win, but will underestimate their opponents at their own peril.
Meanwhile, in the north section, the Pumas and Griquas will meet in a highly anticipated match on Saturday. Both teams have won all four their matches with bonus points so far, but this clash at Nelspruit Rugby Club will see one of the two take a firmer hold on the top of the standings.
The two sides have only met once in the three years of the competition, with the Pumas edging Griquas 32-20 in Oudtshoorn in last year’s final.
Elsewhere in the north section, the Leopards and Welwitschias will be chasing a first win in the competition, while the Golden Lions XV and Vodacom Blue Bulls will be involved in a fierce battle at Sunday’s Rugby Festival at Bosman Stadium in Brakpan.
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