The Super Rugby season is once again upon us. Here, we analyse the South African conference, and ESPN columnist Greg Growden offers his thoughts on each of the five franchises.
A fit Lambie would in all likelihood have been part of the Springboks squad at the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year, but he says he is no longer willing to risk his health on the rugby field.
The new jerseys, inspired by Marvel's Spider-Man, Thor, Black Panther and Captain America, will debut in public at the Super Hero Sunday preseason double-header at Cape Town Stadium on February 3.
The Boks could have used a player of Pienaar's experience and versatility on tour to Europe, and at the Rugby World Cup in Japan next year, but he says that chapter of his career is now firmly closed.
For the second consecutive year the world's oldest domestic rugby competition was won by the away team as the travelling Sharks avenged last year's loss in Durban to the same opposition.
Sharks likely to take a page out the Blue Bulls' book and look to put Western province under pressure with linespeed on defence.
Deysel, who joined Ulster from Guinness Pro14 rivals Munster in 2017, made his decision because of a "combination of lower-body injuries and various niggles".
KweséESPN takes a look at where the weekend's crucial Currie Cup clash between Western Province and the Sharks clash is likely to be won and lost.
The Sharks continued their unbeaten run in the 2018 Currie Cup when they beat the Pumas 28-12 in Durban on Friday night.
A late penalty try wasn't enough for the Cheetahs as they suffered their third successive Currie Cup loss when they went down 29-33 to the Sharks in Bloemfontein on Saturday afternoon.
The Sharks scored four tries in their bonus-point win over the Blue Bulls in Durban.
Former England international Nick Easter is heading for South Africa after joining the Sharks coaching department for the upcoming Currie Cup season, according to reports.
The Crusaders were the only team to coast into the Super Rugby semifinals at the weekend with the other three encounters all closely-fought affairs. The Waratahs looked gone at halftime in Sydney, before the "big three" burst into life.
The Crusaders have swatted aside a gritty challenge from the Sharks 40-10 to set up a mouth-watering Super Rugby semifinal against the Hurricanes.
The opening weekend of the Super Rugby playoffs presents three matches that appear to be extremely even contests, particularly those in Sydney and Wellington. Can the Waratahs and Hurricanes respond after last week?
The Sharks will take confidence from their performances against New Zealand teams leading up to their Super Rugby quarter-final match against the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday morning.
There was plenty on the line in the final regular season round yet two Australian teams were unable to perform when it mattered most. The Brumbies did, however, exposing the Waratahs for exactly what they are.
Sunwolves winger Semesi Masirewa was given a red card for a lifting tackle on Bernard Foley. It was the correct decision to the letter of the law, but could it have been better served by a report system? Your Round 18 Super Rugby talking points are here.
Super Rugby returned from a month-long hiatus only for the negative themes from the June Test series to immediately surface in the provincial competition. Thankfully 24 hours later, the Chiefs helped remind us just how good the game can be.
The Rebels may have ended Australia's 32-game winless streak in New Zealand, but it was the Waratahs, Reds derby that produced the highlights, meanwhile two All Blacks players have been left red-faced for off-field hijinks.
Sharks captain Ruan Botha has been handed a four-week suspension after being shown a red card during their loss to the Jaguares in Buenos Aires.
The Waratahs were hoping to add the Chiefs to their list of victims after ending the trans-Tasman streak in Sydney last week. And they would have, too, had it not been for the game's premier lock: Brodie Retallick.
After 40 games, Australia finally saw the end of their New Zealand hoodoo with the Waratahs putting on a slick display to thump the Highlanders, while the deliberate knockdown debate continues to rage.
KweséESPN's John Goliath looks at some of the pros and the cons if SA Rugby decides to ditch their southern-hemisphere partners for their northern counterparts.
There has been that much talk about the "dark arts" this week that Super Rugby has felt like a Harry Potter novel. Australia's sides have an opportunity to push the limits this week, but need their chief protagonists to be at their absolute best.