After three cracking fixtures kicked off WXV 2 in style in week one, the six countries involved in the tournament are ready to do it all again.
The sides were brilliantly hosted at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch last time out but have now moved onto Athlone Sports Stadium in Cape Town where we can expect three more exciting matches.
With this tournament running until 28 October, every match really does count, and fans are likely to be on the edge of their seats watching the next three encounters.
Here is everything you need to know ahead of the second round of WXV 2 this Friday and Saturday.
USA, Scotland out to make it two from two
Seventh in the World Rugby Women’s Rankings powered by Capgemini, USA take on ninth-placed Scotland on Friday in what should be a brilliant round two opener (kick-off 14:00 local time, GMT+2).
In their first game last Saturday, USA managed to secure a 36-26 bonus-point victory over Samoa.
Atumata Hingano was named Mastercard Player of the Match on her debut and Scotland know they will have to watch out for the inside-centre in attack.
USA have made just two changes ahead of the meeting with Scotland, both coming on the bench with Katana Howard and Autumn Czaplicki joining the 23.
“We were pretty happy with how the team went last week,” interim head coach Milton Haig said. “We were also impressed by the people coming off the bench, so we wanted to try and repeat that this week.”
Last Friday Scotland, who top the standings going into round two, defeated hosts South Africa 31-17 with a bonus point.
It was the Scottish team’s fourth test win in a row and, as a result, head coach Bryan Easson has named the same 23 once again.
Easson said: “The players who started last week performed well and deserve another shot on Friday, so it was important to keep the consistency in selection.
“USA are similar to South Africa in terms of their physicality and will bring a lot of athleticism to the game.”
USA: Bulou Mataitoga; Tess Feury, Kate Zackary (captain), Atumata Hingano, Lotte Clapp; Gabriella Cantorna, Carly Waters; Catherine Benson, Kathryn Treder, Charli Jacoby, Hallie Taufoou, Erica Jarrell, Freda Tafuna, Tahlia Brody, Rachel Johnson.
Replacements: Paige Stathopoulos, Mona Lise Tupou, Keia Mae Sagapolu, Jenny Kronish, Rachel Ehrecke, Taina Tukuafu, Katana Howard, Autumn Czaplicki.
Scotland: Chloe Rollie; Rhona Lloyd, Emma Orr, Lisa Thomson, Francesca McGhie; Helen Nelson, Mairi McDonald; Leah Bartlett, Lana Skeldon, Christine Belisle, Emma Wassell, Sarah Bonar, Rachel Malcolm (captain), Rachel McLachlan, Evie Gallagher.
Replacements: Elis Martin, Anne Young, Lisa Cockburn, Louise McMillan, Jade Konkel, Caity Mattinson, Meryl Smith, Liz Musgrove.
Italy looking for a second win against motivated hosts
Italy have made a number of changes to their match-day squad ahead of their encounter with hosts South Africa on Friday (kick-off 16:30 local time).
Giovanni Raineri, the head coach, saw his charges defeat Japan 28-15 last time out with a bonus point, but has taken the opportunity to re-jig things.
Vittoria Ostuni Minuzzi comes in at full-back, Beatrice Capomaggi is at outside-centre and Francesca Granzotto moves from 15 to scrum-half.
Alessia Pilani is at tight-head prop, Sara Tounesi is in the second row and Isabella Locatelli is selected at blindside flanker. Meanwhile, Beatrice Rigoni is at inside-centre and captains her country for the first time, as she earns her 69th cap.
Nolusindiso Booi will make a record 39th test appearance in the second-row, Byrhandrè Dolf will start on the right wing, Micke Gunter is at hooker and Catha Jacobs is selected at openside flanker as the Springbok Women make four changes to their starting team.
Head coach Louis Koen has also made four changes on the bench and said: “We made it clear to the players that everyone will get a run in this competition, not only to keep players fresh and eager, but also to make sure we build come depth in our test match experiences.”
Italy: Vittoria Ostuni Minuzzi; Aura Muzzo, Beatrice Capomaggi, Beatrice Rigoni (captain), Alyssa D’Inca; Veronica Madia, Francesca Granzotto; Silvia Turani, Vittoria Vecchini, Alessia Pilani, Valeria Fedrighi, Sara Tounesi, Isabella Locatelli, Alissa Ranuccini, Giulia Cavina.
Replacements: Laura Gurioli, Gaia Maris, Lucia Gai, Alessandra Frangipani, Elena Erricchiello, Nicole Mastrangelo, Emma Stevanin, Sofia Catellan.
South Africa: Chuma Qawe; Byrhandre Dolf, Veroeshka Grain, Piwokuhle Nyanda, Shaunique Hess; Libbie Janse van Rensburg, Tayla Kinsey; Sanelisiwe Charlie, Micke Gunter, Babalwa Latsha (captain), Nolusindiso Booi, Danelle Lochner, Lusanda Dumke, Catha Jacobs, Aseza Hele.
Replacements: Luchell Hanekom, Asithandile Ntoyanto, Yonela Ngxingolo, Vainah Ubisi, Sinazo Mcatshulwa, Nompumelelo Mathe, Unam Tose, Unathi Mali.
Japan and Samoa looking for first WXV win
The only match on Saturday in WXV 2 pits Japan against Samoa (kick-off 16:00 local time).
Japan are 11th in the women’s rankings, while Samoa are four places below them in 15th. Both teams lost last week but each can take plenty of heart from their performances against Italy and USA respectively, Samoa earning a losing bonus-point against the Women’s Eagles.
Whoever wins only the teams’ second meeting, and first for 23 years, could reignite their hopes of ending the inaugural WXV 2 as champions.
Should that team be the Sakura 15s then they could also climb back into the world’s top 10, but only if Ireland lose to Colombia in WXV 3. Samoa’s reward for a first win against Japan would be a one-place climb to 14th.
Japan have made four personnel and two positional changes to their starting line-up for this one.
Head coach Lesley McKenzie brings in Haruka Hirotsu at inside-centre meaning Kanako Kobayashi moves to outside-centre in an otherwise unchanged backline.
Hinato Komaki is in at loose-head prop, Kotomi Taniguchi comes in at hooker and Sakurako Korai lines up at blindside flanker, meaning the Sakura 15s’ record cap holder, Seina Saito moves to number eight.
Japan: Sora Nishimura; Misaki Matsumura, Kanako Kobayashi, Haruka Hirotsu, Komachi Imakugi; Ayasa Otsuka, Megumi Abe; Hinato Komaki, Kotomi Taniguchi, Yuka Sadaka, Masami Kawamura, Otoka Yoshimura, Iroha Nagata (captain), Seina Saito.
Replacements: Sachiko Kato, Asuka Kuge, Nijiho Nagata, Jennifer Nduka, Ayano Nagai, Kotono Yasuo, Sakurako Hatada, Minori Yamamoto.
Samoa: Karla Wright-Akeli; Linda Fiafia, Utumalama Atonio, Hastings Leiataua, Michelle Curry; Cassie Siataga, Faalua Tugaga; Ana Mamea, Sosoli Talawadua, Rereglory Aiono, Olalini Tafoulua, Easter Savelio, Sinead Ryder, Sui Pauaraisa (captain), Nina Foaese.
Replacements: Lulu Leuta, Avau Filimaua, Angelica Uila, Fogamanono Tusiga, Taalili Iosefo, Bella Milo, Lutia Col Aumua, Saelua Leaula.