After a thrilling opening round of the European Professional Club Rugby, the DHL Stormers and La Rochelle clash at DHL Stadium before a blockbuster derby in Bloemfontein headlines this week’s action.
The Stormers’ first game of the season in the shadow of Table Mountain promises to be a cracker when they welcome Champions Cup title-holders La Rochelle to the Mother City on Saturday.
A youthful Stormers side fought valiantly but in vain as John Dobson’s troops missed out on a losing bonus point in a narrow defeat against Leicester Tigers at Welford Road in the Champions Cup in round 1.
Less than 24 hours earlier in Pretoria, the boot of Johan Goosen gave the Vodacom Bulls the edge over English giants Saracens, and The Herd will look to make it two in a row when they face French Top 14 club Lyon away from home on Saturday.
In the Challenge Cup, the Sharks made a welcome return to winning ways with a resounding victory against Pau in Durban, with John Plumtree’s charges hitting the road to tackle the Cheetahs at Free State Stadium on Sunday.
The Free Staters routed Zebre Parma at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi to launch their European campaign, and the 2023 Currie Cup champions fancy their chances against a Springbok-powered Sharks line-up when the teams lock horns in Bloemfontein.
Elsewhere, the Lions can make it three successive wins in all competitions when they host English club Newcastle Falcons at Ellis Park on Saturday. The Pride beat Perpignan in southern France last week, after huge bonus-point wins in Johannesburg over Dragons and Zebre in the Vodacom URC.
Also, Jacques Nienaber’s Leinster face a heavily SA-influenced Sale Sharks in Dublin, with Handré Pollard steering the Leicester ship to Stade Francais as Siya Kolisi and Racing 92 brave the chill of Belfast against Ulster.
All the Champions Cup fixtures:
Bayonnais vs Glasgow Warriors (22:00)
Northampton Saints vs Toulon (22:00)
Saracens vs Connacht (15:00)
Stormers vs La Rochelle (15:00)
Bordeaux-Begles vs Bristol Bears (17:15)
Leinster vs Sale Sharks (19:30)
Lyon vs Bulls (19:30)
Cardiff vs Bath (22:00)
Ulster vs Racing 92 (22:00)
Exeter Chiefs vs Munster (15:00)
Harlequins vs Toulouse (17:15)
Stade Francais vs Leicester Tigers (19:30)
All the Challenge Cup fixtures:
Gloucester vs Clermont (22:00)
Scarlets vs Black Lion (22:00)
Edinburgh vs Castres (15:00)
Oyonnax vs Zebre (15:00)
Benetton vs Perpignan (17:15)
Lions vs Newcastle Falcons (17:15)
Pau vs Dragons (19:30)
Cheetahs vs Sharks (15:00)
Montpellier vs Ospreys (15:00)
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