On Saturday 18 February, the Emirates Lions host the Cell C Sharks at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg at 15h00, and at 17h05, the focus will shift 60km north to Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, where the Vodacom Bulls take on the DHL Stormers in an eagerly-anticipated North-South Derby.

With the race to the quarter-finals very intense, and a few spots in the top four also still up for grabs, the Vodacom Bulls have called on their fans to help them try and achieve something they haven’t been able to do for the past two years when they host the DHL Stormers, an encounter which is often described as South African rugby’s greatest rivalry.

The demand for tickets for this match has already reached such a level that Loftus Versfeld officials are hoping they will be able to open the upper section of the East Stand for the first time since 2020 to accommodate the influx of fans for the replay of last year’s Vodacom URC Grand Final.

To be able to do this, though, they would need to sell over 30 000 tickets, which the union is hoping will be possible considering the already strong sales for the game. Tickets for both Vodacom URC derbies are still available online at www.ticketpros.co.za.

Looking at history and the log, the DHL Stormers – currently in second spot, two places and 10 points above their opponents from Pretoria – have the edge over the Vodacom Bulls. The teams have met four times in the Vodacom URC, with the Capetonians winning on all four occasions, including in the inaugural final of the competition.

The stage is set for a memorable meeting in Pretoria. This will be the first match back for head coach Jake White following his surgery and recovery.

The coastal side also hold the upper hand in the other match scheduled for Gauteng on 18 February, with the Cell C Sharks winning all three their previous encounters against the Emirates Lions in the Vodacom URC.