The Nelson Mandela University outfit will take on the visitors at the Madibaz Stadium in Port Elizabeth at 7pm, while Cape Peninsula University of Technology will be at home to Walter Sisulu University in the other semifinal.
Coach Jarryd Buys, whose Madibaz team will be protecting an unbeaten record this season, said the Kwazulu-Natal side would present a huge challenge.
“UKZN stayed in the fight for a long time in our round-robin game and we have to make sure we get the basics right,” he said.
“We can take confidence from the way we have performed so far and, as a group, I’m hoping that will carry us through.”
Buys added that they realised their impressive record this season of six straight wins would not mean anything in Thursday’s play-off.
“It’s a big occasion, but we are not going to treat this game any differently to the others we have played this season,” he said.
“We will be following the same processes we have had in place since the first warm-up game early in the year.
“Our focus is on making sure we stick to the basics and not try to do anything fancy.”
Madibaz wrapped up the round-robin phase of the competition with a 32-9 win over Fort Hare University last Monday and have had some time off since then.
Buys felt the slightly longer break had come at a good time for the squad.
“I think it will help us because the last game in Alice was played in heavy rain and it turned into a forward-orientated game.
“The guys’ bodies were a little bit sore after that, so the extra days will definitely help.”