It will be a clash of Varsity Cup titans on Monday night when defending champions FNB UP-Tuks host log-leaders FNB Maties in a replay of last year's final.It will be a clash of Varsity Cup titans on Monday night when defending champions FNB UP-Tuks host log-leaders FNB Maties in a replay of last year's final.
Since their opening-round defeat to FNB NWU-Pukke in Potchefstroom the star-studded UP-Tuks side has been steadily building up some momentum with victories over FNB UCT and FNB-UFS Shimlas, but their clash with the unbeaten Maties - which will be televised live on Supersport One - will provide a true test of how far they have come.
The Men from Stellenbosch were forced to work hard for their victory over FNB NMMU last week, but the character they showed to secure a tense victory against the Madibaz proved that they are the team to beat this season.
Maties coach Chris Rossouw knows that his team will be up against it away from home, and has instructed his charges to have a full go in the big North-South clash at the Tuks Rugby Stadium.
"We know that Tukkies are the favourites going into the match, so I've told the players that they have nothing to lose and that they must give it their all," he said ahead of their Round-Four meeting in the 2013 FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International tournament.
The other televised game on Monday will see the first-ever Varsity Cup Johannesburg derby when newcomers FNB Wits search for their first victory against local rivals FNB UJ.
Wits suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of NWU-Pukke at home last week, and their coach Andy Royle knows that they need an 80-minute performance if they are to compete with a UJ side that will be full of confidence following their convincing victory over UCT in Cape Town last week.
In Port Elizabeth, the NMMU Madibaz will be looking to build on their spirited display against Maties last week when they take on a UFS-Shimlas side low on confidence after consecutive defeats at home.
The Eastern Cape side enjoyed the support of a 12,000-strong crowd at their last home game, and coach Brent Janse van Rensburg is determined to see his team reward their loyal supporters with a big performance.
"One thing you can be assured of, the NMMU men will always give of their best and we will work hard to try and convert our performances into a win for our supporters," he said.
The UCT Ikey Tigers will be looking for their first win of the season when they travel to Potchefstroom to face a NWU-Pukke side that will be riding high on confidence following their massive Round Three victory over Wits.
Another defeat will be a hammer blow for the Ikeys' semifinal ambitions, so they will throw everything at NWU-Pukke who will be relishing the chance to play in front of their home fans again after two weeks on the road.
In the Varsity Shield, meanwhile, the FNB TUT Vikings will be desperate to secure their first victory in the competition when they take on Peter de Villiers's FNB UWC outfit in Pretoria.
UWC went down to FNB Fort Hare in heartbreaking fashion in Alice last week, so they will be motivated to show that they can produce the goods away from home.
The Fort Hare Blues will be out to keep their momentum at home going when they welcome the FNB UKZN Impi to the Davidson Rugby Stadium. The Impi are fresh off their bye week and are ready to make a push for a place in the final in the second half of the season.
In the FNB Varsity Young Guns competition, NMMU's youngsters will be out to bounce back from their defeat to the UCT Trojans in Cape Town last week when they host Maties in Port Elizabeth, whilst Wits and NWU-Pukke will both be looking for a fast start to the season when they do battle in Potchefstroom.
The Steinhoff Koshuisrugby Championship will have a big North-South derby of its own when Steinhoff Medies from Stellenbosch do battle with Steinhoff Mopanie in a curtain-raiser to the big Varsity Cup clash in Pretoria.
In the other Koshuis encounters, Steinhoff Villagers will be out to start their campaign on a winning note at home against Steinhoff Northernz, and Steinhoff Commerce Wits will be looking to come back from their heavy defeat last week when they host Steinhoff Bastion in a curtain-raiser to the big Varsity Cup derby in Johannesburg.