The DHL Stormers, who are currently in fifth place on the standings, will host the ninth-placed Emirates Lions in Cape Town at 13h45, while the Hollywoodbets Sharks – who will be playing purely for pride after being knocked out of the quarter-final race – will host the second-placed Vodacom Bulls in Durban at 16h10.

Apart from determining the quarter-finalists, this round holds extra significance in that it will determine who clinches the SA Shield, with the Vodacom Bulls and DHL Stormers neck and neck at the moment, with the team from Pretoria holding a three-point edge on the log.

While a victory in Durban for the Vodacom Bulls would keep them in contention to finish the league stages as the top team for a home quarter-final and possibly semi-final and final – as they currently trail Munster by two points – a win for the DHL Stormers will cement their quarter-final spot, even though they can’t finish higher than fifth.

For the Emirates Lions, meanwhile, a victory and most likely with a bonus point will be essential to keep their playoff hopes alive.

The Cape Town derby is set to be a humdinger. While the DHL Stormers can’t finish outside the top-eight, they will want to enter the playoffs with momentum, while defeat to the Emirates Lions could see them drop down the standings for a tougher quarter-final.

The Emirates Lions, meanwhile, will want to repeat their fifth-round victory in 2021 in Cape Town. If they can do that and bag a bonus-point, the men from Johannesburg could sneak into the top eight. They are currently tied on 49 log points with the eighth-placed Benetton and seventh-placed Edinburgh.

Given these stakes, neither team is set to give an inch.

Spicing up the clash, the Johannesburgers have a superior attacking record this season with a 63-point lead over the Capetonians, but the home side have been more effective on defence conceding 45 points fewer in their 17 matches to date.

The DHL Stormers will draw inspiration from the fact that they only suffered one defeat at home this season in the tournament – against Ospreys – but with both teams desperate for a victory, it could prove to be a tight match.

In Durban, the Vodacom Bulls will enter their clash against the Hollywoodbets Sharks as overwhelming favourites on paper given their impressive record this season with 12 wins in 17 outings to only four by the hosts.

However, they will be mindful of the fact that the KwaZulu-Natalians will enter the match high on confidence after making history last week by becoming the first South African team ever to be crowned the EPCR Challenge Cup champions in England.

The Vodacom Bulls are on a three-match winning streak, while the Durbanites come off two defeats in a row in the Vodacom URC, but after their success in Europe they will have their sights on finishing the season on a high note by creating one of the biggest upsets of the weekend and will certainly have the mindset that they have nothing to lose.

The Vodacom Bulls’ statistics count heavily in their favour having scored close to double the amount the points the Hollywoodbets Sharks have accumulated this season, but less than 15 points separate the teams defensively, which could set the scene for a thrilling clash.

The quarter-finals matches and venues will be confirmed at the conclusion of Saturday’s matches, with the with one quarter-final playing out on Friday 7 June and three on Saturday 8 June.

Match information:

DHL Stormers v Emirates Lions
Date: Saturday, 1 June
Venue: DHL Stadium, Cape Town
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
SA Time: 13h45
TV: SuperSport

Hollywoodbets Sharks v Vodacom Bulls
Date: Saturday, 1 June
Venue: Hollywoodbets Kings Park, Durban
Referee: Morne Ferreira
SA Time: 16h10
TV: SuperSport