The two ITM Cup final spots are still very much up for grabs with just three more rounds of the tournament remaining.
Auckland v Bay of Plenty
Auckland host Bay of Plenty with both sides banking on wins to keep their ITM Cup final hopes alive.
The hosts sit in fifth place, but could have been top of the pile had they not shot themselves in the foot after going down to Championship strugglers Tasman at Eden Park.
That Round Eight defeat has left Mark Anscombe's men in a must-win situation, not only to have any hope of finishing in the top two but to also make sure Auckland don't end up getting relegated with just two points seperating them and last-placed Southland.
While the Steamers are in third, the former tournament leaders season has taken a turn for the worst after dropping their last three matches. Another defeat will all but rule them out of a fairytale final.
"We've made it pretty hard on ourselves by losing the last three games," said Bay of Plenty fly-half Chris Noakes.
"We were in a really good position after four games but now we're in a big fight with five teams for those top-two spots.
"No-one is safe at the other end too so this is definitely the only game we're focused on. We're treating it as a final - if we win, we're still in the mix to make it through."
In team news, Joe Rokocoko will play his final game at Eden Park this Saturday.
The curtain will fall on the Rocketman's illustrious career in New Zealand at the end of the season when he heads overseas to join French club Bayonne.
Anscombe was quick to sing the 28-year-old's praises.
"Joe has been superb for us this year," Anscombe said.
"He's had some great times in his rugby career at Eden Park and I'm sure he has some very fond memories of the ground and we certainly want to make tomorrow another one and send him off on a high note."
Auckland: 15 Dave Thomas, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Hadleigh Parkes, 12 Winston Stanley, 11 George Moala, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Sean Polwart , 6 Nathan Hughes, 5Chris Lowrey, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Tom McCartney (c), 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Angus Ta'avao, 18 Steve Luatua, 19 Sam Henwood, 20 Toby Morland, 21 Piers Francis, 22 Brent Ward, 23 Tevita Mailau.
Bay of Plenty: 15 Toby Arnold, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Phil Burleigh, 12 Steve Kefu/Hona, 11 Jason Hona/Ben W Smith, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Jamie Nutbrown, 8 Colin Bourke (c), 7 Luke Braid,6 Tanerau Latimer, 5 Culum Retallick/Luke Andrews, 4 Leon Power, 3 Bronson Murray, 2 John Pareanga, 1 Tristan Moran.
Replacements: 16 Daniel Perrin, 17 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 18 Andrews/Leighton Price, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Josh Hall, 21 Daniel Waenga/Nick McCashin, 22 Smith/Lance MacDonald, 23. Josh Hohneck.
Canterbury v Taranaki
The red-and-blacks host the amber-and-blacks at Rugby Park in Christchurch on Saturday.
Second-placed Taranaki (23 points) are one point ahead of Canterbury who are third-equal with Bay of Plenty, and a win will go a long way in helping either side's cause for a spot in the final.
Taranaki have never won a national championship title, while Canterbury are three-time defending champions but have not stamped their authority on the newly-formated competition this year.
Missing 11 All Blacks, Canterbury have won just three out of four clashes with Premiership rivals this season. Taranaki lost their opening game to Wellington, and went down to Championship leaders Manawatu (15-10) in their only two losses suffered thus far in 2011.
The visitors will fancy their chances of upsetting Canterbury at home, but are wary that a defeat with three games of the regular season remaining could see them drop down the congested ladder.
"This is quite a unique competition. It can go either way. You are in a position where you can go into the top two [and qualify for the premiership final] or go into the bottom two," said Taranaki coach Colin Cooper.
Canterbury: 15 Sean Maitland, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock (c), 5 Ash Parker, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Paea Fa'anunu.
Replacements: 16 Corey Flynn, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Luke Katene/Joel Everson, 19 Brendon O'Connor, 20 Mark Swanepoel, 21 Tom Taylor, 22 Telusa Veainu/Rhys Llewellyn, 23 Andrew Olorenshaw.
Taranaki: 15 Kurt Baker, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Isaia Tuifua, 12 Jayden Hayward, 11 Jackson Ormond, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Brett Goodin, 8 Samuela Vunisa, 7 Scott Waldrom, 6 Ben Souness, 5 Craig Clarke (c), 4 Jason Eaton, 3 Michael Bent, 2 Laurence Corlett, 1 Carl Carmichael.
Replacements: 16 Timo Tutavaha, 17 Shane Cleaver, 18 James Broadhurst, 19 Chris Walker, 20 Tyson Keats, 21 Jack Cameron, 22 Frazier Climo, 23 Willie Ioane.