GWK Griquas and the Leopards will be determined to build momentum in the Absa Currie Cup qualifying rounds this weekend to keep ahead of the pack following strong starts to the competition last week.
Only one of the seven teams participating in the qualifying round will earn the right to play in the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division this season, while the rest of the teams will battle it out in the First Division.
In Friday’s matches the Valke face the Leopards at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park and the SWD Eagles take on the Down Touch Griffons at Outeniqua Park in George.
In Saturday’s match the Boland Cavaliers host GWK Griquas at the Boland Stadium in Wellington.
The Border Bulldogs, meanwhile, have a bye.
In Kempton Park the Leopards will be tipped as the favourites to beat the Valke after scoring 51 points against the SWD Eagles in their opening match last week, while the hosts may also be rusty as this will mark their first match in the series.
With former Springbok flyhalf Andre Pretorius leading the Leopards and the likes of experienced centre Adriaan Engelbrecht and the talented wing Luther Obi on their side, the Valke will have to hit the ground running to keep up with the visitors and possibly create an upset.
The Down Touch Griffons will also go in search of an away victory against the SWD Eagles in George after securing a last-minute victory against Boland last week. With the hosts having leaked seven tries in their opening match, the Down Touch Griffons may opt for a strong attacking game in the hope of poking holes in the Eagles defence.
However, they will have to work hard for a victory as the SWD Eagles have had time to iron out their defensive problems, while they also have quality players such as wing Alshaun Bock, flyhalf Karlo Aspeling and No8 Davon Raubenheimer, who have a knack at creating opportunities on attack.
One of the key battles is expected to be between flyhalves Aspeling and Franna du Toit, who are both solid attacking players and accurate goal kickers.
In Wellington GWK Griquas will enter the clash against the Boland Cavaliers as favourites with form and confidence counting in their favour. The Kimberley side are widely tipped to retain the position they held in the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division last season, and if they are able to replicate the performance that earned them a convincing 52-5 victory against Border last week, they will be difficult to stop.
The Cavaliers, however, will draw some confidence from their performance against the Down Touch Griffons last week which saw them lead the clash until the last minute.
Former Boland lock Hilton Lobberts and wing Jacquin Jansen will feature in the Griquas starting lineup and could be marked men by their former team-mates. But with Griquas boasting a powerful pack and exciting backline, Boland will have to deliver a quality performance in all the facets of their game to contain the visitors.
Absa Currie Cup Premier Division qualifiers – round two fixtures:
Valke vs Leopards
Venue: Barnard Stadium, Kempton Park
Date: 13 June 2014
SWD Eagles vs Down Touch Griffons
Venue: Outeniqua Park, George
Date: 13 June 2014
Boland vs GWK Griquas
Venue: Boland Stadium, Wellington
Date: 14 June 2014