Varsity Cup Round 3 Review

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Defending champions FNB UP-Tuks were the only side left unbeaten after the third round of the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International on Monday.

The Pretoria side stormed to a comfortable 26-0 victory over FNB UFS-Shimlas in front of their home crowd on a night which saw pace-setters FNB NWU-Pukke and FNB NMMU both lose on home turf.

NWU-Pukke started the evening on top of the standings following bonus-point wins in the first two rounds, but they had their colours lowered in Potchefstroom by a desperate FNB Maties side who won 33-21 in the end.

It was Maties’ first win of the season, after going down to NMMU and UCT, and the four-try victory on the road will give the three-time champions plenty of confidence as they look to recover from their disappointing start to the season.

It was a good night for the Cape sides as the Ikey Tigers followed up their win over Maties in Stellenbosch last week by beating the NMMU Madibaz 26-13 in Port Elizabeth to reclaim the Monte Taljaard trophy.

NMMU have held the trophy which is played for in memory of former UCT and Grey PE flank Monte Taljaard for the last two years, but will have to give it back after losing their first game at home since 2012.

In the early game FNB UJ proved simply too strong for their Johannesburg rivals FNB Wits, scoring four tries to notch their first victory of the season and get their campaign properly up and running.

Wits remain rooted to the bottom of the table after that 32-15 defeat without a single log point as they continue to search for their first win in the competition.

This leaves UP-Tuks in pole position, just one log point ahead of NWU-Pukke, whilst the Madibaz and the Ikeys round off the top four.

UJ’s victory has them up in fifth position, with Maties and UFS-Shimlas tied on six points with one win and two bonus points each.

The Varsity Shield saw two away wins as defending champions FNB CUT continued their unbeaten run by beating the FNB TUT Vikings 39-18 in Pretoria whilst John Mitchell’s FNB UKZN secured their first win of the season with a 30-8 victory against Peter de Villiers’ FNB UWC in Bellville.

In the FNB Varsity Young Guns competition UP-Tuks maintained their flawless record with a hard-fought 28-24 victory over UFS, and in Port Elizabeth NMMU and UCT ended deadlocked on 13-13.

In the opening fixtures of the Steinhoff Koshuisrugby Championship last year’s beaten finalists Medies from Maties demolished NMMU’s Steinhoff Oppidani in Port Elizabeth and UJ’s Steinhoff Majuba were too strong for Humanities from Wits.

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