The table-topping Maties continued their unbeaten start to the 2013 FNB Varsity Cup with a tense 13-8 victory over a determined NMMU Madibaz side in Stellenbosch on Monday.
The team from Port Elizabeth showed great fighting spirit and pushed the three-time champions all the way before a late try from lock Reniel Hugo secured the victory for the home side at the Danie Craven Stadium.
It was NMMU's first defeat of the season after their draw with UCT, and their victory over Wits last week, leaving the Men from Stellenbosch as the only unbeaten team in the competition after three rounds of action thus far.
Earlier, defending champions UP-Tuks scored three tries on their way to a 23-12 victory over UFS-Shimlas in Bloemfontein. No 8 Jean Cook got over for two tries for the visitors who pushed hard for a four-try bonus point but had to be content with a valuable win on the road.
It was the second consecutive home defeat for UFS-Shimlas following their loss to Maties last week, with their only try of the match coming late in the game when UP-Tuks had already built up a commanding lead.
In Johannesburg, NWU-Pukke ran in five tries on either side of halftime to dismantle Wits 71-25.
Fullback Hoffman Maritz scored a hat-trick of tries, while SJ Niemand and Luther Obi scored a brace each. The heavy defeat will be a demoralising one for Varsity Cup newcomers Wits who showed plenty of heart to run the NMMU Madibaz close in Port Elizabeth last week.
UJ recorded a valuable win on the road, coming back from 13-18 down at halftime to claim a 42-26 win over UCT in Cape Town
The two sides, both of whom played their part in this exciting tussle, were locked at 26-26 as they went into the final strategy break but a try double by UJ captain Justin Wheeler saw the Men in Orange come away with their second win of 2013.
The Ikeys, however, are still winless - after losing away to defending champions, UP-Tuks, last weekend and drawing 5-5 with the Madibaz in Week One.
Meanwhile, CUT continued their unbeaten start to the season in Varsity Shield action, with a 24-16 victory over former Varsity Cup outfit TUT Vikings in Pretoria.
The CUT Ixias built up a commanding 24-0 lead before TUT hit back with two tries of their own, but the Vikings could not escape their fourth consecutive defeat and are still looking for their first Varsity Shield victory.
In Alice, Fort Hare fought back to score 12 unanswered points in the second half and clinch a dramatic 24-23 victory over former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers's UWC.
In the opening round of the Varsity Young Guns competition, the UCT Trojans made a fast start with a seven-try 44-15 victory over NMMU, while defending champions UP-Tuks were forced to hold on for a gritty 18-16 win over UFS-Shimlas.
Finally, in the Steinhoff Koshuirugby Championship, defending champions Steinhoff Vishuis gave Wits side Steinhoff Commerce a tough initiation with a resounding 111-8 victory in Johannesburg, and, in Stellenbosch, Steinhoff Medies cruised to a convincing 23-5 victory over NMMU outfit Steinhoff Northernz.