Deon Fourie X-factor Springbok Stormers Bulls Champions Cup URC

The Stormers against the Bulls. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

URC | Kick-off times: Stormers v Bulls, Lions v Sharks

Here are the kick-off times for four blockbuster URC derbies, with the Lions hosting the Sharks before the Bulls clash with the Stormers.

Deon Fourie X-factor Springbok Stormers Bulls Champions Cup URC

The Stormers against the Bulls. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

All four South African teams will be feeling the pressure when they take the field on Saturday in the second United Rugby Championship (URC) Origin Round as the competition for places in the quarter-final heats up with eight pool rounds remaining – while the SA Shield can be decided in Pretoria.

The Lions will host the Sharks in Johannesburg – where scholars in their school uniforms will be granted free entry – while a packed Loftus Versfeld will await theStormers when they take on the Vodacom Bulls on Saturday in what is expected to be another thrilling round of local action.

The Lions will be hunting their first victory in three outings when they line up against the Sharks at Emirates Airline Park – well aware of the significance of a victory to stay within range of the top eight teams after dropping to five points behind the eighth-placed Ulster following their defeat against the Bulls two weekends ago.

The Sharks, meanwhile, will give everything to change their fortunes after slumping to their ninth defeat in 10 matches in the last round despite a brave display against the Stormers. This result saw the KwaZulu-Natalians remain at the foot of the log.

Stormers v Bulls is the headline URC game on Saturday

Spicing up the clash, only five points separate the teams on the table – with the Bulls in second place and the Stormers in sixth place – meaning a victory will give the winner a handy boost.

The same applies in the SA Shield title race, where victory for the Stormers – on 17 points two ahead of the Bulls – in Pretoria will all but seal the deal as they attempt to take the silverware back to Cape Town for the third season in a row.

Apart from keeping their SA Shield hopes alive, the Bulls, who are on 35 points on the overall log, will also have their sights on possibly leaping to the top of the table if Leinster (39 pts) and the Glasgow Warriors (36 pts) slip up, which will motivate them immensely.

Adding to this, they will want to keep their perfect home record at Fortress Loftus this season intact. They will also be hellbent on changing their fortunes against the Capetonians, who have won the last seven encounters between the sides.

The Bulls will enter this URC match with the bragging rights as being the best attacking team in the competition so far this season with an impressive 349 points in 10 matches, but the Stormers will take pride from the fact that they have been one of the best defensive outfits, meaning it could prove to be a tight encounter.

Match information:

Emirates Lions v Hollywoodbets Sharks
Date: Saturday, 2 March
Venue: Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Aimee Barrett-Theron
SA Time: 15h00
TV: SuperSport

Vodacom Bulls v DHL Stormers
Date: Saturday, 2 March
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
SA Time: 17h05
TV: SuperSport