South Africa's leading provincial teams resume hostilities after some interesting results in last week's opening round of the tournament.
Western Province and Free State Cheetahs are keen to register their first wins of the season after suffering defeats in their opening fixtures to the Sharks and Golden Lions respectively.
The Cheetahs host the Blue Bulls in Bloemfontein in the only action on Friday while WP face a tricky hurdle in Kimberley on Saturday against Griquas, who are the other side that fell to defeat last week.
In the only other action of the round the Lions travel to Durban to face the Sharks as last year's finalists meet again.
Friday, 17 August
Free State Cheetahs v Blue Bulls
Saturday, 18 August
Griquas v Western Province
Golden Lions v Free State Cheetahs
1. Golden Lions 5
2. Blue Bulls 4
3. Sharks 4
4. Western Province 1
5. Griquas 0
6. Cheetahs 0
Free State Cheetahs v Blue Bulls
Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
The Cheetahs know that anything less than a win will not satisfy their supporters, who will be keen to show that last week's 43-20 defeat to the Lions was just a hiccup at this early stage of their campaign.
New captain Robert Ebersohn knows his side have to show considerable improvement against the visitors who got their campaign off to a fine start with a 35-20 victory over Griquas in Pretoria last week.
"We weren't happy with our performance against the Lions," said Ebersohn.
"But we've put that behind us and now look forward to taking on the Bulls at home.
"Our defence will have to be better and our discipline impeccable.
"The Bulls showed against Griquas that they will take advantage of any opportunity."
Despite losing the services of livewire flanker Arno Botha - who sustained a hamstring injury in the win against Griquas - Blue Bulls coach Pine Pienaar believes his replacement CJ Stander will give a good account of himself.
"We are of course very sad to loose Arno to injury," said the coach.
"Our loose trio did very well against Griquas and we were hoping to field the same side, but CJ did very well when he came onto the field and he deserves a chance."
Prediction: The Cheetahs are always competitive on their own turf and will make things tough for the visitors. The Bulls, however, showed last week that despite being without several stalwarts they can still do well. It will be close but Bulls by three!
Free State Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Riaan Smit, 13 Robert Ebersohn (c), 12 Barry Geel, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Kabamba Floors, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Frans Viljoen, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Hercu Liebenberg, 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Elandré Huggett, 17 Schalk van Merwe, 18 Francois Uys, 19 Davon Raubenheimer, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Philip Snyman, 22 Nico Scheepers.
Blue Bulls: 15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Ulrich Beyers, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Clayton Blommetjies, 10 Louis Fouchè, 9 Ruan Snyman, 8 Dewald Potgieter (c), 7 CJ Stander, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Cornell Hess, 4 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Dawie Steyn.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 Warwick Tecklenburg, 20 Lohan Jacobs, 21 Lionel Cronjè, 22 Jan Serfontein.
Kick-off:19:10 (18:10 BST, 17:10 GMT)
Referee: Sindile Mayende
Griquas v Western Province
GWK Stadium, Kimberley
Playing Griquas in Kimberley is a difficult task, and WP coach Allister Coetzee is under no illussions that his charges will have to be at their best to beat their hosts.
The Cape side is also seeking their first win of the season after losing 25-23 to the Sharks at Newlands last week while Griquas are in the same position after their loss to the Blue Bulls.
WP will have to make do without livewire hooker Tiaan Liebenberg, who has been called up to the Springbok squad as the third hooker after injury to Chiliboy Ralepelle.
All eyes will be on WP's returning number eight Duane Vermeulen, who plays his first game since suffering a knee injury in the Stormers' Super Rugby campaign in April.
The two sides met most recently in this year's Vodacom Cup final, won by WP in the final seconds, and in Currie Cup terms the visitors also edged home 41-35 last year in round-robin action and another tight tussle is expected.
The hosts suffered a setback when their full-back Willie le Roux was suspended for this clash. He was yellow carded and later cited for a dangerous tackle on Blue Bulls counterpart Jurgen Visser in last week's opener.
Le Roux's absence will greatly reduce Griquas' attacking threat as he is always a danger with ball in hand.
Prediction: Griquas are a far better side at home than on their travels but WP have experience in key positions and this should see them through. WP by five points.
Griquas: 15 Francois Brummer, 14 Wilmaure Louw, 13 Jean Stemmet, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Jacques Coetzee, 8 Leon Karemaker, 7 Justin Downey, 6 Wesley Wilkins, 5 Martin Muller, 4 Ligtoring Landman, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Ryno Barnes (c), 1 Steph Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Matt Dobson, 17 Janro van Niekerk, 18 Frikkie Spies, 19 Jaco Nepgen, 20 Marnus Hugo, 21 Walter Venter, 22 Richard Lawson.
Western Province: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 JP du Plessis, 12 Marcel Brache, 11 Ederies Arendse, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Jebb Sinclair, 6 Tyrone Holmes, 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Don Armand, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Deon Fourie (c), 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 19 Yaya Hartzenberg, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Damian de Allende.
Kick-off:14:30 (13:30 BST, 12:30 GMT)
Referee: Marius Jonker
Sharks v Golden Lions
Kings Park Stadium, Durban
In the weekend's final match the Lions will try to put their off-field issues behind them when they face their hosts who are on a high after snatching a late win over Western Province in Cape Town last week.
Coach John Plumtree admits that there was little to crow about from that result even though it was a vital away win.
He said he was looking for a big improvement at Kings Park.
"It was just a start for us and we were happy to get those points," Plumtree said.
"There weren't a lot of positives to take out of the game.
"Perhaps there was tenacity within the group to hang on when it was really important, so that showed a bit of character.
"But we're really looking for a 40-50 percent improvement in all areas this week."
Lions fly-half Butch James will relish the chance of facing his former team-mates at his old stomping ground. James was in superb form against the Cheetahs last week, contributing 21 points in the Johannesburg-based outfit's win.
Prediction: Although the Lions got their campaign off to a fine start it is always a difficult assignment to face the Shakrs in thier own backyard. Sharks by six!
The Sharks: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 S'bura Sithole, 10 Riaan Viljoen, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Jacques Botes, 7 Jean Deysel (c), 6 Francois Kleinhans, 5 Anton Bresler, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Julian Redelinghuys, 18 Jandre Marais, 19 Lubabalo Mtembu, 20 Cobus Reinach, 21 Marius Joubert, 22 Gouws Prinsloo.
Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 JR Esterhuizen, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Waylon Murray, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Butch James, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Josh Strauss, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg (c).
Replacements: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Willie Britz, 19 Jaco Kriel, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Guy Cronje, 22 Ruan Combrinck.
Kick-off:19:15 (18:15 BST, 17:15 GMT)
Referee: Mark Lawrence