A battle for second place
March 11, 2013

The unbeaten Maties have guaranteed themselves top spot on the FNB Varsity Cup standings for 2013, while an intense battle rages on for second place.

Maties skipper Helmut Lehmann scored a hat-trick in their 48-21 victory over Wits on Monday, which left the newcomers still searching for their first Varsity Cup win and ensured that Maties will end the season at the top of the standings.

Wits showed plenty of guts to come up with three tries of their own, but walked away from the contest empty-handed once more as Maties made it six wins out of six matches this season.

The battle for second place behind the Stellenbosch side was intense as UJ and UP-Tuks played out a thriller in Johannesburg which saw the defending champions snatch a late 31-29 win.

The two teams started the game level on log points, and the match was suitably hard-fought as each side ran in four tries in a fiercely intense battle.

UJ thought that they had snatched victory when fullback Kobus de Kock went over in the corner five minutes from the end, but UP-Tuks hit back moments later as hooker Mbongeni Mbonambi powered past two defenders and offloaded brilliantly in the tackle for Courtnall Skosan to run in the match winner.

The victory leaves UP-Tuks in second place, but they are followed closely by NWU-Pukke who secured a sensational 39-36 victory over NMMU in Potchefstroom.

The Eastern Cape side established a commanding 36-13 lead early in the second half, only for the hosts to score 26 unanswered points to take a stunning victory in front of their home supporters.

The victory leaves NWU-Pukke in third position on the standings, just ahead of UJ who earned two log points for their heartbreaking loss to UP-Tuks, while the Madibaz move down to fifth position despite getting two bonus points away from home.

In Bloemfontein UFS-Shimlas were held to a 21-21 draw by a determined UCT team, which means that they will need a few results to go their way next week if they are to sneak into the semifinals.

It was the Ikeys' second draw for the season, and leaves them still searching for their first victory in 2013 ahead of their final game against Wits - the only other winless team in the competition - next week.

In the Varsity Shield CUT continued their unbeaten run this season with resounding victory over UKZN in Bloemfontein, while the Fort Hare Blues struck a major blow by beating the TUT Vikings 25-18 in Pretoria.

The last-minute victory means that Fort Hare move up to third place on the standings just one point behind the UKZN Impi after completing the season double over the Vikings.

In the Varsity Young Guns competition defending champions UP-Tuks ran riot against NWU-Pukke in Potchefstroom, while UFS-Shimlas did the same against newboys Wits in Johannesburg.

The match between UJ and UCT in Johannesburg was far more competitive, with both sides scoring four tries in a thrilling match, and it was the visitors who eventually came out on top, securing a tense 41-36 victory over UFS-Shimlas.

In the Steinhoff Koshuisrugby Championships Steinhoff Villagers made it two wins out of their two matches with a comfortable 21-7 victory over UP-Tuks side Mopanie in Potchefstroom, and defending champions Vishuis showed their class with a dominant 45-13 win over UCT side Steinhoff Cobras in Bloemfontein.

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