Important URC points at stake in postponed fixtures
The Sharks and Lions will be determined to capitalise on their home ground advantage on Saturday when they take the field in their postponed round six United Rugby Championship fixtures against Ulster and the Glasgow Warriors, with an eye on powering their way up the log with the end of the pool stages in sight.
The Sharks, who are currently in seventh place on the standings, could leap into the top four if they register a commanding victory against Ulster in Durban (14h00), while the Lions will be desperate to advance from 14th position on the log when they take on the Glasgow Warriors in Johannesburg (16h10).
While home ground advantage will favour the SA teams, they will have their work cut out as Ulster and Glasgow are currently in third and fourth place on the log and will have all the motivation they need to remain in upper echelons of the standings with only four matches remaining after these encounters to secure favourable playoff spots.
Victories for the visiting teams would also go a long way in bridging the gap between themselves and the top two sides on the log – Leinster and the Stormers – and to provide some security in the top eight especially with only 10 points separating Ulster and the 10th placed Benetton, which will set the scene for thrilling encounters.
The Sharks will have their sights set on securing their fifth home victory when they host Ulster at Hollywoodbets Kings Park and the fact that both sides have won eight of their 13 matches so far will serve as encouragement for the hosts, especially with four log positions separating the teams.
The KwaZulu-Natalians, however, will be mindful of the fact that Ulster have been more effective on attack and defence this season, and that it will take a well-rounded performance to defeat them, but with everything to play for, it is a challenge they are expected to relish.
While the Sharks will be hunting their second win in a row, Ulster will be seeking their third win on the trot against SA opposition this season, as both sides look to build winning momentum as the pool stages reach boiling point.
The Lions, meanwhile, will be desperate to change their fortunes after suffering five defeats in a row and only five victories in their 13 matches when they line up against Glasgow Warriors at Emirates Airline Park.
They will be wary of the fact that they will have to deliver one of their strongest performances yet to defy the odds and beat the Warriors, who recorded a crucial victory over Ulster last weekend in Glasgow.
The Johannesburgers will have to be particularly strong on attack to find ways to breach Glasgow’s defence as they are fourth on the list of top defending sides in the competition.
Cell C Sharks v Ulster
Date: Saturday, 25 February
Venue: Hollywoodbets Kings Park, Durban
SA Time: 14h00
Referee: Sam Grove-White
Emirates Lions v Glasgow Warriors
Date: Saturday, 25 February
Venue: Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
SA Time: 16h10
Referee: Adam Jones