BORDER'S Bulldogs may be languishing at the foot of the Absa Currie Cup first division standings, but the Eastern Province Kings will not be taking them lightly in East London this evening (SS1, CSN from 7pm).
The sides have had hugely contrasting seasons, with the Kings unbeaten in 10 matches while the Bulldogs have yet to register a victory in the same number of games.
One would not expect Border to present too much resistance considering the fact that they were beaten 56-5 in the first round, in Port Elizabeth, at the end of July.
But the Kings are not taking any chances and rugby director Alan Solomons says his charges will be up for it tonight.
"They [the Bulldogs] haven't had results," Solomons said this week.
"But we've been through this dozens of times since 2010. This is a derby.
"This is the one game of the year they live for, particularly at home. So that is going to lift them.
"They've scored a lot of points in certain games but they've also conceded a lot. They've leaked too many tries and that's the reason they haven't been able to register a win. But I think that they will be very, very motivated for this game.
"We know we are going to have a hard game. Every side that plays us tends to lift their game."
But it is almost a given that the Kings will be too strong for the Bulldogs up front. "I think we've got a good team and I think we've got a good pack of forwards," Solomons said.
If one were to be critical of the Kings' game in recent weeks, it is that they have looked disjointed at times. And that is probably as a result of Solomons's rotation policy.
The Kings' selection team have made 11 changes to their starting line-up for tonight so the new combinations may again take some time to settle into the match. But they should still have too much firepower for their franchise neighbours.
The fifth-placed SWD Eagles will look to keep their play-off hopes alive when they host the Leopards, who are just above them on the log, in a crucial tie in George tonight.
With four rounds of the new eight-team competition remaining, the Kings, on 45 points, and second- placed Pumas, with 37 points, are virtually assured of their place in the October 5 semifinals.
The Griffons (33) and Leopards (32) are third and fourth respectively, with the Eagles the only other team with a realistic chance of breaking into the top four. They have 26 points, trailing the Leopards by six, and it's likely that nothing less than victory will do if they are to prevent their season from coming to a premature end.
The seventh-placed Falcons are at home to the Pumas, who will want to earn five log points tomorrow if they are to keep the pressure on the Kings.
That will be no easy task as the Falcons have proved they are tough to beat on home turf.
In the final match of the weekend, the third-placed Griffons host defending champions Boland Cavaliers, who are almost certainly out of the running for the semifinals with just 19 points.