THE table-topping Maties continued their unbeaten start to the Varsity Cup rugby competition with a tense 13-8 victory over a determined FNB NMMU Madibaz side in Stellenbosch yesterday.
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.
Earlier, defending champions UP-Tuks scored three tries on their way to a 23-12 victory over UFS-Shimlas in Bloemfontein.
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.
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.
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 Ikeys, however, are still winless after losing away to defending champions UP-Tuks, last weekend and drawing 5-5 with the Madibaz in the first round.
Meanwhile, UCT 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.
In Alice, Fort Hare fought back to score 12 unanswered points in the second half to 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.
In the Steinhoff Koshuis competition, defending champions Vishuis gave Wits side Commerce a tough initiation with a resounding 111-8 victory in Johannesburg and, in Stellenbosch, Medies cruised to a convincing 23-5 victory over NMMU outfit Northernz.