In a repeat of last week’s matches at alternate venues, the Vodacom Bulls will host the Emirates Lions in Pretoria at 15h00 and the DHL Stormers will meet the Cell C Sharks in Cape Town at 17h05, with both encounters being broadcast live on SuperSport.

The South African sides will go head-to-head in gripping local derbies in the next two rounds, as they make up for their matches that were cancelled late last year due to the travel restrictions.

The Vodacom Bulls earned a well-needed victory last week in Johannesburg – only their second in the competition so far – and they will be desperate to build on that result at home on Saturday to possibly claw their way closer to the top end of the standings. They are currently in 13th position on the standings with 12 points.

The Johannesburgers, who are one position below the Pretoria outfit on the table on points’ difference, will be desperate to bounce back from back-to-back defeats as they travel to Loftus Versfeld, which will set the scene for a thrilling clash.

Vodacom Bulls Director of Rugby Jake White made only one change to his starting team with, Zak Burger (scrumhalf) taking over from Embrose Papier in a rotational switch, while Cornal Hendricks, who was on Carling Currie Cup duty earlier in the week, has been added to the replacements bench as backline cover.

“The result from last weekend when we beat the Emirates Lions at Emirates Airline Park will mean nothing,” said White.

“We expect nothing less than another challenging encounter against the side from Johannesburg. They showed how strong they can be in the set pieces last week, while also coming at us with some clever, running rugby. We can definitely expect more of the same this weekend.”

Emirates Lions head coach Ivan van Rooyen named a new-look match 23 for their clash against the Vodacom Bulls, with Jaco Kriel taking over the captaincy in the absence of Burger Odendaal, who suffered a head injury last Saturday.

Tiaan Swanepoel gets his chance at pivot, while Matt More will start in the midfield, and exciting prospects PJ Steenkamp and Quan Horn are also in line to make their Vodacom URC debuts off the bench.

“Both players and management had difficult conversations post the Bulls fixture and we felt that a better showing was required if we wanted to be competitive this week,” said Van Rooyen.

“We felt our scrums and mauls were a highlight for us against the Bulls so it's something we would like to capitalise on come Saturday.”

Francke Horn and Elrigh Louw battle for possession in their Vodacom URC clash last week.

Francke Horn and Elrigh Louw battle for possession in their Vodacom URC clash last week.

In Cape Town, the DHL Stormers will look to make the most of their first home game of the year after coming off a late draw and victory of their last two matches, and build momentum early on when they run onto the park against the Cell C Sharks at DHL Stadium.

But with the Cell C Sharks determined to hold onto the top spot in the South African Shield (they are currently in 10th position overall with 16 points after winning three matches), and the team coming off a last-minute draw last week, they will have their sights set on closing in on their closest rivals on the log in the next two weeks.

With both teams showing flashes of good form this year, the match could prove to be another nail-biting affair.

Brok Harris will earn his 100th cap for the DHL Stormers in one of two changes to the starting line-up. The other change sees Warrick Gelant start at fullback, with Damian Willemse being one of two backs on the replacements bench.

Harris made his DHL Stormers debut in 2007 and went on to play 93 games, and he also earned a century of caps for DHL Western Province before leaving to join the Dragons in 2015.

“We brought Brok in as a scrum consultant this season, hoping to benefit from his knowledge of the Vodacom United Rugby Championship teams and conditions,” said DHL Stormers coach John Dobson.

“His performances on the pitch have been remarkable and there is nobody who deserves this milestone more than him.

“After starting the year with two away games, we are keen to get out there in front of our faithful supporters at DHL Stadium and deliver a worthy performance at home.”

Cell C Sharks coach Sean Everitt made minimal changes to his team, which shows a rejigged midfield necessitated through injury to Ben Tapuai.

Everitt swapped his halfbacks' jerseys, with Jaden Hendrikse starting at scrumhalf and Argentine international Joaquín Díaz Bonilla at flyhalf, while Tapuai’s injury sees captain Lukhanyo Am shift into inside centre, will Jeremy Ward will start at outside centre.

Match information:

Vodacom Bulls v Emirates Lions
Date: Saturday, 5 February
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
SA Time: 15h00
Referee: Aimee Barrett-Theron
TV: SuperSport

DHL Stormers v Cell C Sharks
Date: Saturday, 5 February
Venue: DHL Stadium, Cape Town
SA Time: 17h05
Referee: AJ Jacobs
TV: SuperSport