SYDNEY - The front-running Sharks put their eight-match unbeaten home record on the line against their New Zealand nemesis Hurricanes in this weekend's Super 14 rugby series.
The fifth-placed Hurricanes have won three of their last five games against the Sharks in Durban and the unpredictable Kiwis have the attacking firepower to trouble the Sharks.
Hurricanes opened their South African tour with a 38-32 win over the Lions in Johannesburg last weekend.
The Sharks, who are unbeaten at home since the 2007 tournament final, have fashioned an imposing record after half time this term, having not been out-scored in the second half of any of their matches.
Australia's leading title contenders, Waratahs, have a dangerous home tie against the ninth-placed Stormers of South Africa tomorrow.
The second-placed Waratahs finally cracked their Eden Park hoodoo in downing the Blues last weekend but face the Stormers, who are probably playing for their season after four defeats.
The South Africans have won on each of their last three visits to the Sydney Football Stadium and last week led the Crusaders 7-0 in Christchurch before eventually being run down 11-7.
The in-form Chiefs have replaced injured All Black winger Sitiveni Sivivatu with Dwayne Sweeney for tomorrow's match with the Lions in Hamilton.
Sivivatu, who has scored six tries in the last two matches, has a shoulder problem suffered in the Chiefs' free-running 50-26 win over the Reds in Brisbane last week.
South Africa's fourth-placed Bulls play the defending champions Crusaders in Christchurch, looking to bounce back from their upset 36-12 loss to the Highlanders last week to relinquish the competition lead.
The Crusaders have not really fired after the loss of so many stars at the end of last season, but have shown glimpses of what they are capable of and are just four points behind the top four in seventh position.
The return of lineout general Victor Matfield comes at an opportune time for the Bulls.
Sobering news for the Bulls is that they were the last South African team to win a Super 14 rugby match in Christchurch - but that was 13 years ago.
Wallabies captain Stirling Mortlock returns to the Brumbies' starting line-up to play the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein tomorrow after missing last week's loss to the Sharks with bruised thighs.
In the weekend's other match, the Western Force take on the Reds in an Australian derby in Perth today
Meanwhile, the Blues and Highlanders will have the weekend off. - Sapa-AFP