The race for George heats up around the country on Saturday as the Cell C Community Cup pool stages reach a make-or-break stage for a number of clubs.
Arguably the two biggest clashes of the weekend take place in Roodepoort and Port Elizabeth respectively, where wild cards Raiders and African Bombers will look to move one step closer to finishing among the top two in their pools and thereby qualify for the televised Easter Play-offs, scheduled for Outeniqua Park from 28 March to 1 April.
Raiders have picked up a maximum 10 points from their opening two matches to lead Pool C, but they face their stiffest test so far when they travel to Rand Leases Sports Ground to play arch-rivals Roodepoort.
Victory for Raiders will almost certainly book them their ticket to George, while defeat for Roodepoort may eliminate them from the competition after their first-round loss to one of the favourites, Rustenburg Impala.
And in Zwide Stadium in Port Elizabeth, African Bombers face arguably the country’s second strongest non-university club, Pretoria Police.
Bombers have surprised friend and foe so far, beating Welkom Rovers at home in Round 1 and picking up a bonus point in their 45-26 away defeat to Durbanvillle-Bellville last week.
Bombers are a notoriously difficult team to beat in Zwide, but Police, who lost in the final of the last-ever National Club Championships last year, must start as favourites and will take a firm grip on Pool B should they come away with the win.
Elsewhere, in Pool A GAP Despatch host United Bulk Villagers Worcester and SK Walmers from Cape Town travel into the Kalahari to face Aveng Moolmans Sishen.
The other match in Pool B is at Bobbies Park in the Free State capital between Bloemfontein Police and Durbanville-Bellville, while Rustenburg Impala will run out as favourites in their home Pool C game against Bloemfontein Crusaders.
Brakpan, log leaders in Pool D and one of the dark horses in the competition, travel to South Western Districts to take on Pacaltsdorp Evergreens, while Roses United will host Broubart Old Selbornian in Wellington.
Round 3 fixtures – Saturday, 2 March:
16:00: GAP Despatch vs United Bulk Villagers Worcester (Central Rugby Fields, Despatch)
16:00: Aveng Moolmans Sishen vs SK Walmers (Sivos Stadium, Kathu)
Bye: Jonsson College Rovers
16:00: Bloemfontein Police vs Durbanville-Bellville (Bobbies Park, Bloemfontein)
16:00: African Bombers vs Pretoria Police (Zwide Stadium, Port Elizabeth)
Bye: Welkom Rovers
16:00: Rustenburg Impala vs Bloemfontein Crusaders (Rustenburg Rugby Fields)
16:00: Roodepoort vs Raiders (Rand Leases Sports Grounds, Roodepoort)
Bye: BB Truck & Tractor Noordelikes
16:00: Pacaltsdorp Evergreens vs Brakpan (Pacaltsdorp Sports Grounds)
16:30: Roses United vs Broubart Old Selbornian
Bye: White River