The South African Conference opens in the seventh week with a derby in Welkom, where the Cheetahs return home to host the Lions.
Later that evening in Loftus, the Bulls will host the Crusaders in a high profile clash that will see the winners of no less than ten championships come together in a battle that has often decided the fate of recent Super Rugby title holders.
While the huge north versus south South African Rugby derby took place at Newlands, it was the gun happy Cheetahs that blasted their way to victory scoring 36-6 in the last 49 minutes to completely dominate a Hurricanes outfit that had proven this season they are no easy beats.
Two matches will be played in the Republic in 2012 Super Rugby, Week Five, with the Reds continuing their tour and looking at maintaining their remarkable recent record against such franchises, with their loss to the Sharks last week their first in eight matches against South African rivals.
The South African Conference, with three teams in action over the fourth week, swept the round with impressive wins for the Stormers and Sharks over title contenders, while the Cheetahs were able to win in Australia for the second consecutive year.
A foreign invasion is on the cards for the Republic in Week Four, with the South African Conference featuring no derby matches.
The Stormers, still to leave the comfortable confines of Newlands this season, will host their second New Zealand Conference team this year after taking Week Three off, with the Bull beating Blues rocking into Cape Town.
While it was notable that the three-time champions tasted defeat at fortress Loftus, while the Sharks downed the Lions in what was hailed in some quarters as a rematch of the Currie Cup Final, it was the opening match featuring a team from the Republic that beckoned shock.
A Christian Lealiifano penalty after the siren and relentless work from the front row have handed the University of Canberra Brumbies a one-point win against the Cheetahs at Canberra Stadium, Saturday afternoon.
The Sharks and Lions square off in another South African Conference derby, while respective three-time champions clash in Pretoria with the Bulls and Blues so far in the midst of very different early season fortunes!
The Bulls ran in six tries as they hammered the Cheetahs 19-51 in Bloemfontein even though they finished the match with 13 players on the field, but the difference in attitude was that the Bulls always looked to attack, while the home team fell off elementary tackles.
Every season we muse over the potential changing of the guard, and of all the giants in Super Rugby many have predicted that the Overlords of Super Rugby in the Republic – the Bulls – would have been a team that could have been excused for a season of rebuilding.
SANZAR and Superrugby.com take a look at all of the confirmed 2012 Super Rugby pre-season fixtures that will kick off in just over a week as 2011 South African Conference winners the Stormers take on local rivals Boland.
In the past, some South Africans may have lamented an uneven balance of power, perhaps suggesting that their Conference was a "drieperd-wedren" (three horse race), but on evidence of the last two months there will be a brutal dogfight amongst the five teams from the Republic this year.