Just two log points separate the top four teams in the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International ahead of Round Four on Monday.
Defending champions FNB UP-Tuks are the only team yet to lose a game this season, and they lead the way but not by much with the chasing pack breathing down their necks.
They will be up against the fourth-placed FNB UCT – who are coming off two big away wins against FNB Maties and FNB NMMU – in the first televised game (live on Supersport One at 16.45) in Cape Town on Monday.
FNB NWU-Pukke and the NMMU Madibaz both suffered their first defeats last week, but they are not far off the pace, which sets up their clash in Port Elizabeth nicely.
The loss to UCT last week was the Madibaz’ first defeat at home since 2012, so they will be looking to bounce back quickly against a NWU-Pukke side that went down to Maties in Potchefstroom in Round Three.
The Stellenbosch side will be back on home soil on Monday, with bottom-dwellers FNB Wits set to visit the Danie Craven Stadium as they look for their first log points of the season.
Maties got their campaign up and running with their win against NWU-Pukke last week after a disappointing start to the season, so they will be eyeing a bonus-point win against Wits who are still yet to win a Varsity Cup game.
Both FNB UJ and FNB UFS-Shimlas will be hoping to break into the top four ahead of their clash in Bloemfontein. UFS-Shimlas are down in seventh place on the log, but just three points adrift of the Ikeys who are in fourth place, which shows just how congested the standings are ahead of Monday’s action.
In the Varsity Shield defending champions FNB CUT will be looking to extend their unbeaten run which stretches back to 2012 when they host FNB Fort Hare in Bloemfontein.
Fort Hare have already shown that they will be no pushovers this season by beating the FNB UKZN Impi in Durban, but they will have to produce a special performance if they are to get the better of the high-flying Ixias.
John Mitchell’s UKZN side are coming off a morale-boosting win over Peter de Villiers’ FNB UWC last week and they face the FNB TUT Vikings in Pietermaritzburg. The Vikings suffered their first defeat against CUT last week, so they will be keen to bounce back and put some more distance between themselves and the Impi on the log.
In the FNB Varsity Young Guns competition the FNB UFS-Young Guns will be out to put their narrow defeat to defending champions UP-Tuks behind them when they host Wits in Bloemfontein whilst in Cape Town the Ikeys will be looking for their first win when they face UJ.
The Steinhoff Koshuisrugby Championship moves into Round Two on Monday, with Steinhoff Oppidani hosting NWU-Pukke outfit Steinhoff Patria in Port Elizabeth and UFS champions Steinhoff Heimat starting their campaign with a clash against Wits’ Steinhoff Humanities in Bloemfontein
FNB UCT v FNB UP-Tuks
(UCT Rugby Fields, Cape Town – Kick-off: 16.45 live on Supersport One)
FNB UFS-Shimlas v FNB UJ
(Shimla Park, Bloemfontein – Kick-off: 19.00)
FNB Maties v FNB Wits
(Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch – Kick-off: 19.00)
FNB NMMU v FNB NWU-Pukke
(Madibaz Stadium, Port Elizabeth – Kick-off: 19.00 live on Supersport One)
For more info please visit www.varsitycup.co.za