The DHL Stormers will open the weekend’s action for SA’s teams on Friday night when they face Ospreys in Swansea, while an action-packed Saturday will see the Emirates Lions host Ulster in Johannesburg, the Cell C Sharks take on Glasgow Warriors in Durban and Munster line up against the Vodacom Bulls in Limerick.

The DHL Stormers – who remain SA’s only unbeaten team and along with Leinster the only teams who have not lost yet this season – will look to extend their winning run to four matches when they meet Ospreys in Swansea.

The Capetonians may enter the match as favourites based on their winning track record this season and the fact that they are the best defensive team in the competition, but they will be bracing themselves for a tough test against the hosts whose season record so far shows one win and one draw in their four outings.

One of their two defeats was by a solitary point against the Emirates Lions, while the other was a disappointing 47-17 defeat against Ulster last week – a result they will be desperate to bounce back from.

The DHL Stormers will look to apply pressure on the Ospreys defence as they target a second away-win, especially with the Welsh side having conceded 115 points in their first four matches, while the Cape outfit conceded only 53 points in their three matches.

Leolin Zas will make his return to the DHL Stormers starting line-up from an injury in one of seven changes to the run-on team.

He is joined at the back by fullback Clayton Blommetjies, with Angelo Davids moving across to the right wing, while Dan du Plessis will partner Alapati Leuia in midfield and Paul de Wet is also back in the starting team at scrumhalf.

Among the forwards Hacjivah Dayimani and Nama Xaba will start on the flanks, while the only change to the tight five sees Marvin Orie join captain Salmaan Moerat in the second row.

The Emirates Lions, meanwhile, will be determined to kick on from their fine form on tour when they host Ulster at Emirates Airline Park following three wins in a row in the Northern Hemisphere.

Should they succeed in their quest to make it four consecutive victories, it will mark the Johannesburgers’ first home win this season after going down 31-15 against their neighbours, the Vodacom Bulls, on their stomping ground in the opening round.

But the hosts will be wary of the challenge that awaits as the second-placed Ulster have suffered only one defeat so far this season, and it was against log-leaders Leinster. They also registered convincing victories against Ospreys and Connacht, and they will be determined to build on this in their first game in South Africa.

Experienced Springbok forward Willem Alberts was included in the Emirates Lions’ starting fifteen, with the team further bolstered by the return of wing Edwill van Merwe, who completed his return to play concussion protocol.

Alberts returns to action from a lengthy injury layoff and combines with captain Reinhard Nothnagel in the second row, while other changes to the starting combination from last week’s away win over Edinburgh see Jaco Visagie and Emmanuel Tshituka getting the nod at hooker and No 6 flank respectively.

The match will mark a big career milestone for prop Sti Sithole, who makes his 50th appearance from the bench for the red and white jerseys.

The Cell C Sharks will have their sights set on bouncing back from their first defeat of the season last week (against Leinster) when they host the Glasgow Warriors in Durban in their first home game this season.

The KwaZulu-Natalians have been on tour since kicking off their campaign in September, and they will be hoping to make the most of their home ground advantage in vastly different conditions to the Northern Hemisphere when they welcome the Warriors to Hollywoodbets Kings Park.

Interestingly, Glasgow is only one spot higher on the standings than the Cell Sharks in seventh position despite playing one more match than the Durbanites, but they share the same defensive record with 110 points conceded.

The Vodacom Bulls will have their sights set on bouncing back from their first defeat of the season last week in Scotland when they line up against Munster in Limerick, but they will be wary of the threat the hosts will pose at home – where they registered their only victory this season.

This will mark the Pretoria outfit’s second tour match, and following a disappointing performance last week, Jake White’s charges will place a big emphasis on their breakdown play, in particular, after this area cost them several possible tries last week.

The Vodacom Bulls have been more effective on attack in the early stages of the season scoring 113 points to 62 by Munster, but the Irish outfit boasts the second best defence in the competition – with only 68 points conceded in four matches – meaning the Pretoria side will have to be smart and efficient on attack to come away with points.

Match information:

Ospreys vs DHL Stormers
Date: Friday, 14 October
Venue: Stadium, Swansea
SA Time: 20h35
Referee: Gianluca Gnecchi
TV: SuperSport

Emirates Lions vs Ulster
Date: Saturday, 15 October
Venue: Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
SA Time: 14h00
Referee: Sam Grove-White
TV: SuperSport

Cell C Sharks vs Glasgow Warriors
Date: Saturday, 15 October
Venue: Hollywoodbets Kings Park, Durban
SA Time: 16h05
Referee: Chris Busby
TV: SuperSport

Munster vs Vodacom Bulls
Date: Saturday, 15 October
Venue: Thomond Park, Limerick
SA Time: 20h35
Referee: Mike Adamson
TV: SuperSport

Other Vodacom United Rugby Championship fixtures – Round 5 (SA times):

Friday, 14 October:
20h35: Connacht v Leinster

Saturday, 15 October:
18h15: Cardiff v Dragons
18h15: Edinburgh v Benetton
20h35: Scarlets v Zebre Parma