The Emirates Lions will kick off the weekend’s action against Edinburgh in Scotland on Friday night, and a jam-packed Saturday schedule will see the DHL Stormers face off against Zebre Parma in Italy, the Cell C Sharks take on Leinster in Ireland and the Vodacom Bulls meet the Glasgow Warriors in Scotland.

The Emirates Lions will be searching for their third victory in a row when they line up against Edinburgh, following away wins against Cardiff and Ospreys.

With the home side boasting a better record on attack and defence – with the Johannesburgers having scored 74 points to Edinburgh’s 93 and conceding three points more than them – they will, however, be bracing themselves for a tough onslaught.

The Emirates Lions team show just two changes from the side that beat Cardiff, the first of which is a rotational switch to the pack, where Junior Springbok loose forward Ruan Venter will start with Emmanuel Tshituka dropping to the bench.

In the other change to the starting team, Stean Pienaar comes in on the wing for Edwill van der Merwe, who is recovering from concussion.

Defending Vodacom URC champions, the DHL Stormers, will also have their sights set on stretching their winning run to three matches after overcoming Edinburgh and Connacht, but this will mark their first away match, meaning they will be tested under different conditions.

With Zebre Parma coming off three defeats in a row, the DHL Stormers will back themselves to register a victory, but they will be wary of the fact that the hosts have earned four bonus points, which could pave the way for a good test.

The DHL Stormers’ 28-man travelling squad excluded Springbok props Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe, who are getting a well-deserved break, although Damian Willemse travelled with the Capetonians to Europe.

The Cell C Sharks, meanwhile, will expect a massive onslaught from log-leaders, Leinster, who are also unbeaten after three rounds, and with the hosts having scored the second highest number of points in the competition so far, it is expected to be an epic encounter.

The Durbanites, however, will take confidence from the fact that they have won both their matches so far overseas, and with a strong victory against Zebre Parma and a hard-fought 20-19 win against the Dragons in the bag, they will be well aware of the character test that awaits them against one of the real powerhouse teams in the competition.

The Vodacom Bulls will face their first test on foreign soil when they take on the Glasgow Warriors at the Scotstoun Stadium, and although they will enter the match with confidence knowing they have three wins under the belt, they will expect a completely different test in Scotland.

The Glasgow Warriors may have only won only one of their three matches so far in the competition, but that victory was an emphatic 52-24 win against Cardiff at home, and with home games being vital in the competition, they will view this match as a must-win encounter.

The Vodacom Bulls flew to the Northern Hemisphere with a squad of 30 players, consisting of 17 forwards and 13 backs, but missing a few key players due to injury concerns in Johan Grobbelaar (hooker), as well as Springbok outside backs Canan Moodie and Sbu Nkosi.

Match information:

Edinburgh vs Emirates Lions
Date: Friday, 7 October
Venue: DAM Health Stadium, Edinburgh
SA Time: 20h35
Referee: Andrea Piardi
TV: SuperSport

Zebre Parma vs DHL Stormers
Date: Saturday, 8 October
Venue: Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Parma
SA Time: 16h00
Referee: Eoghan Cross
TV: SuperSport

Leinster vs Cell C Sharks
Date: Saturday, 8 October
Venue: RDS Arena, Dublin
SA Time: 18h05
Referee: Craig Evans
TV: SuperSport

Glasgow Warriors vs Vodacom Bulls
Date: Saturday, 8 October
Venue: Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow
SA Time: 20h35
Referee: Andrew Brace
TV: SuperSport

Other Vodacom United Rugby Championship fixtures – Round 4 (SA times):

Friday, 7 October:
20h35: Connacht v Munster

Saturday, 8 October:
18h15: Scarlets v Cardiff
20h35: Ulster v Ospreys

Sunday, 9 October:
15h45: Benetton v Dragons