Seven teams remain in the running for the Premier Division semi-finals with four rounds to play. Very little separates the three sides at top of the log, while the race for fourth position is wide open.

The Toyota Cheetahs and the Airlink Pumas – two teams that have set the pace for much of the tournament – will be desperate to bounce back after their respective losses in the 10th round. The defending champions from Mpumalanga will travel to Cape Town this Friday in search of a win that may elevate them to the top of the standings.

DHL Western Province will be out for revenge, after losing to the Airlink Pumas earlier in the season. A win for the Capetonians would consolidate their position in the top four and keep the chasing pack – the Fidelity ADT Lions, Windhoek Draught Griquas and Vodacom Bulls – at arm’s length.

One of the biggest clashes of the round sees the Toyota Cheetahs travelling east to tackle the Cell C Sharks. The Durbanites made a statement when they downed the defending champions last week, and could strengthen their bid for a home semi-final with a further win against the men from Bloemfontein.

The NovaVit Griffons have improved steadily over the course of the season and have claimed bonus points from their recent losses to DHL WP and the Airlink Pumas. Windhoek Draught Griquas will need to be at their best if they are going to secure valuable log points from the visit to Welkom this Saturday. A big win for the men from Kimberley may be enough to earn them a place in the top four – providing that other results go their way.

The Jukskei Derby on Saturday will be particularly important. The Vodacom Bulls have built up some momentum since beating Windhoek Draught Griquas last week. They need to keep winning, though, if they hope to qualify for the playoffs.

The Fidelity ADT Lions should be equally desperate when they host their Gauteng neighbours. They’re coming off an important win against the Toyota Cheetahs, and another victory may strengthen their position – fifth – in the standings. A loss, however, could see them slipping down to seventh place.

Currie Cup First Division / Mzansi Challenge

Four spicy clashes are scheduled for the ninth round of the Currie Cup First Division and Mzanzi Challenge tournament this Saturday, two of which could have a big influence on the playoffs.

In the games kicking off at 15h00, Eastern Province (second on the log, with 23 points) will tackle the Valke (third, with 21) in Kempton Park; the fourth-placed Boland Kavaliers (21) will face log-leaders SWD Eagles in Porterville.

These four sides also set the pace in the First Division and with the final on 23 June set to be contested between the top two teams on the log, there really is a lot at stake on the East Rand and in the Swartland.

In the Mzansi Challenge, where the San Clemente Rhinos and Leopards are also still in the hunt, the top four teams will play in the semi-finals, followed by the final on 17 June.

Other matches this weekend are between the Kenyan Simbas and the Goshawks from Zimbabwe in Nairobi (16h00), and in the last game of the round, the Border Bulldogs will host the San Clemente Rhinos in Mdantsane at 15h30.

Match information:

DHL Western Province v Airlink Pumas
Venue: Athlone Stadium, Cape Town
Date: Friday, 19 May
Time: 17h00
Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni
TV: SuperSport

Cell C Sharks v Toyota Cheetahs
Venue: Hollywoodbets Kings Park, Durban
Date: Friday, 19 May
Time: 19h05
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
TV: SuperSport

NovaVit Griffons v Windhoek Draught Griquas
Venue: Down Touch Investments Stadium, Welkom
Date: Saturday, 20 May
Time: 13h00
Referee: Dylen November
TV: SuperSport

Fidelity ADT Lions v Vodacom Bulls
Venue: Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
Date: Saturday, 20 May
Time: 15h00
Referee: Aimee Barrett-Theron
TV: SuperSport