The FNB NMMU Madibaz made a big statement in the opening round of the FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International by storming to a 45-29 victory over FNB Maties in Port Elizabeth.
Openside flank Christopher Cloete scored an incredible five tries - with four coming from driving mauls - as the Eastern Cape side gained revenge for their narrow semifinal defeat to Maties in Stellenbosch last year.
However, that comprehensive victory over the three-time champions was not enough to secure top spot on the log, with that honour going to FNB NWU-Pukke for their 47-24 demolition of FNB UCT on the Green Mile in Cape Town.
Defending champions FNB UP-Tuks were held to a hard-fought 18-18 draw by Gauteng rivals FNB UJ in Pretoria whilst the FNB UFS-Shimlas got their campaign off to a solid start with a 31-15 bonus-point victory over FNB Wits in a wet Bloemfontein.
With the new double referee system providing some open, running rugby around the country four out of the eight tries secured bonus points for scoring four tries or more.
The Madibaz have not lost at home since the 2012 season, and they were simply irresistable in front of a passionate crowd, although Maties did manage to salvage some pride with three late tries handing them a valuable bonus point.
In Cape Town NWU-Pukke tamed the windy conditions and the Ikey Tigers, who they outscored by seven tries to three in the end, to deservedly end the evening on top of the pile.
The clash between UP-Tuks and UJ was a game of two halves, with all of the points coming before half-time as both teams failed to take any of their opportunities in the second half to end deadlocked.
UP-Tuks outscored UJ by three tries to two, but it was not enough as both sides had to settle for just two log points for all of their hard work.
UFS-Shimlas overcame some slippery conditions in Bloemfontein and a spirited Wits side, scoring two tries in each half to secure a comfortable victory.
To their credit Wits refused to throw in the towel and will be disappointed at having no log points to show for their efforts after scoring three tries in the end.
In the Varsity Shield there were two away wins which leaves the competition wide open after the second round, with John Mitchell's FNB UKZN Impi the only side yet to win a game.
The FNB Fort Hare Blues handed the Impi their second consecutive defeat, with flying wing Garth van Rayner scoring a late try to seal a vital 17-12 victory in Durban.
The FNB TUT Vikings got their campaign off to an encouraging start by securing a morale-boosting 34-31 victory over Peter de Villiers' UWC outfit in Bellville.