The Toyota Cheetahs finished the Premier Division league phase at the top of the standings, and will host the Vodacom Bulls in the first playoff on Saturday. Hawies Fourie’s charges beat the men from Pretoria twice in the regular season – claiming a 32-7 win in the round three fixture in Bloemfontein, and a 31-27 victory at Loftus Versfeld last week.

The Free Staters scored the most points (439) and tries (63) over the course of the 14-game league phase. It will be interesting to see how the Vodacom Bulls’ defence copes with the Toyota Cheetahs attack in the semi-final. Jake White’s side has conceded the second-most points (415) and tries (53). Only the NovaVit Griffons have conceded more.

That said, the Toyota Stadium has hardly been a fortress this season, with the Free Staters winning three, losing three and drawing one at their home venue. For this reason, the Vodacom Bulls may fancy their chances of an upset in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

The Cell C Sharks lost 44-5 to DHL Western Province last week. The heavy defeat in Cape Town cost Joey Mongalo’s team a first-place finish in the standings, although they will enjoy home advantage when they face the Airlink Pumas – who are coming off a 27-17 win against Windhoek Draught Griquas in Kimberley.

Etienne Taljaard of the Airlink Pumas takes on the Cell C Sharks' defence earlier this season.

Etienne Taljaard of the Airlink Pumas takes on the Cell C Sharks' defence earlier this season.

The KwaZulu-Natalians beat the defending champions twice during the league phase – claiming a 19-12 win in Durban in round five, and a 24-22 victory in Nelspruit in round 10.

The semi-final in Durban on Saturday could witness another fiercely contested, low-scoring affair. The Cell C Sharks conceded the fewest tries during the regular season (37) while the Airlink Pumas conceded the second-fewest (38).

Mzansi Challenge

Opening a day of playoff matches, the Valke will host the SWD Eagles in the Mzanzi Challenge final in Kempton Park on Saturday.

The Valke scored eight tries in the 57-30 semi-final win against the Leopards last week. The Eagles progressed to the decider after claiming a 38-27 victory against the Boland Kavaliers.

Next weekend, the Kavaliers will host the Valke in the Currie Cup First Division final in Wellington. The match will in all likelihood be played on Saturday 24 June, with the kick-off time to be confirmed.

Match information:

Valke v SWD Eagles
Venue: Barnard Stadium, Kempton Park
Date: Saturday, 17 June
Time: 12h30
Referee: Christopher Allison
TV: SuperSport (211)

Toyota Cheetahs v Vodacom Bulls
Venue: Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein
Date: Saturday, 17 June
Time: 15h00
Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni
TV: SuperSport (201 and 211)

Cell C Sharks v Airlink Pumas
Venue: Hollywoodbets Kings Park, Durban
Date: Saturday, 17 June
Time: 17h30
Referee: Marius Van der Westhuizen
TV: SuperSport (201 and 211)