The NWU Eagles fired late to claim a 17-8 win over four-time title winners, UP-Tuks in Potchefstroom on Monday evening. The men from Pretoria took the fight to the Eagles in the trenches, and for much of the first half, they controlled the collisions and breakdowns, and repelled wave after wave of attack.

The nature of the contest changed, however, after Stefan Coetzee was shown a red card in the 20th minute. The UP-Tuks fullback caught opposite number Heinrich Botha with a reckless challenge and the referee had no option but to send him off.

A change to the Eagles’ front row, however, boosted the hosts’ scrum and the pressure began to tell. André Fouché scored the first try of the match and NWU, who had spurned several scoring chances, went to the break with a 7-3 lead.

The visitors’ hit back at the scrums in the second stanza. A sustained assault on the Eagles’ line culminated in a try for flank Divan Venter in the 56th minute.

The Eagles refused to give up, though. Reserve loose forward Gustav Erlank forced his way over the line to regain the lead for the hosts. Another strong drive into opposition territory resulted in a spectacular finish by wing Naiden Jaarts. From there, the Eagles did enough to secure the win and deny the reigning champions a losing bonus point.


FNB NWU Eagles 17 (7) – Tries: André Fouche, Gustav Erlank, Naiden Jaarts. Conversion: Nivan Petersen.

FNB UP-Tuks 8 (3) – Try: Divan Venter. Penalty: Stefan Coetzee.

In Nelson Mandela Bay, Kyle Cyster scored a hat-trick to boost the Madibaz to a 36-26 bonus-point win against the CUT Ixias.

The Madibaz showed their attacking intent from the outset. The hosts lifted the tempo and caught the CUT Ixias defence by surprise. They also used the swirling wind to their advantage and capitalised on several high-ball mistakes by the visitors.

Cyster completed a hat-trick of tries inside 27 minutes. While the Ixias lost flyhalf Xavier Swartbooi to the sin bin thereafter, they finished the half strongly to trail 33-14 at the break.


FNB Madibaz 36 (33) – Tries: Warwick Griffin, Kyle Cyster (2x7, 1x5), Khakalethu Bophi. Conversions: Sibalomzi Mqeni (2). Penalty: Mgeni.

FNB CUT Ixias 26 (14) – Tries: Tiaan Drotske, Sisipho Nofuya, Christiaan Venter, Zinedene Booysen. Conversions: Floris Brand (3).

UCT were too strong for UWC in their Cape Town derby.

UCT were too strong for UWC in their Cape Town derby.

In Stellenbosch, Maties survived a big scare when they fought back from 12-3 down to beat UJ 40-38.

Maties hooker Sean Swart scored two of his side’s four tries, and the Orange Army had to settle for two bonus points for their efforts as they often came close, but just could not manage to break Maties' defensive line in a high-scoring encounter.


FNB Maties 40 (23) – Tries: Sibabalwe Xamlashe (1x7), Waqar Solaan, Sean Swart (2). Conversions: Nevaldo Fleurs (3); Penalties: Fleurs (4).

FNB UJ 38 (21) – Tries: Johannes Terblanche, Kelvin Kanenungo, Likhaya Tengimfene (1x7), Rowan Malgas, Babalo Makana. Conversions: Jonathan Viljoen (3), Shaun-Christian Baxter. Penalty: Viljoen.

In Johannesburg, winger Wian de Lange scored two tries and flyhalf Chris Humphries contributed 26 points via the boot as Wits shocked previously unbeaten UFS Shimlas 53-31.

Both teams scored five tries, but Shimlas conceded a string of penalties within range, with Humphries' aim on target as he slotted six penalty goals as well as four conversions on a night the men from Johannesburg will not forget.


FNB Wits 53 (37) – Tries: Wian de Lange (2), Hlumelo Ndudula (1x7), Mark Snyman, Jason Cloete; Conversions: Chris Humphries (4); Penalties: Humphries (6).

FNB UFS Shimlas 31 (10) – Tries: Blaine Golden, Lohan Potgieter, Ruwald van der Merwe, Jooste Nel, Asanda Kunene; Conversions: Litha Nkula (3)

The UCT Ikeys crossed the line seven times in their Cape Town derby victory by 53-31 over UWC, having led 28-0 at the break.

The visitors added some respectability to the scoreboard with three second-half tries, but it wasn't enough to halt the Tigers' charge as they cemented their second spot on the log, with the same number of points as Shimlas.


FNB UCT Ikeys 51 (28) – Tries: Duran Koevort, Sipho Dyonase, Luthando Woji, Connor Evans, Mika Schubert, Imad Khan (1x7), Ntokozo Makhaza (1x7). Conversions: Koevort (6).

FNB UWC 26 (0) – Tries: Shaine Orderson, Peter Williams, Conwill Conradie, Aydon Topley. Conversions: Lyle Hendricks (3).

FNB Varsity Cup Round 5 fixtures (14 March):

● FNB UWC vs FNB UP-Tuks (17h00, UWC Stadium, SuperSport channel 211)
● FNB UJ vs FNB Wits (19h00, UJ Stadium, SuperSport channel 211)
● FNB CUT Ixias vs FNB Maties (19h00, CUT Rugby Stadium, SuperSport Schools App)
● FNB UFS Shimlas vs FNB NWU Eagles (19h00, Shimla Park, SuperSport Schools App)
● FNB UCT Ikeys vs FNB Madibaz (19h00, UCT Rugby Fields, SuperSport Schools App)