Cape Town - Western Province assistant coach Norman Laker has likened the Currie Cup clash with the Free State Cheetahs on Saturday to a veritable quarter-final.
As things stand, Province are in fifth position with 13 points - one point adrift of the semi-final places - while the Cheetahs occupy second position with 17 points.
Therefore, Province must win if they are to keep their semi-final hopes alive. If they do not it will come as a big shock to the system, having won the cup in 2017 before making the final last year.
The Cheetahs have a points differential of 67 (much more than any other side) and this is mainly due to their 68-14 thumping of top-placed Griquas, which Laker believes is evidence of their quality.
"The Cheetahs are a quality outfit and they showed what they can do at home against Griquas," Laker said. "If you can put 50 on a Griquas side, you must be a quality outfit."
Laker says it is imperative that Province are able to effect turnovers because the Cheetahs play ball-in-hand attacking rugby and that this will allow the likes of Dillyn Leyds and Sergeal Petersen to flourish as both players thrive in broken play.
"They keep ball in hand, they don't really kick it away, so we must try and force turnovers so guys like Dillyn and Sergeal can create chaos. So we need to create turnovers from defence," he said. "We can definitely improve our defence, especially on last week, it wasn’t our best defensive performance of the year.
"There was some miscommunication between players that created that space out wide. This game is basically a quarter-final for us."
Saturday's clash is scheduled for 17:15.