Tuks gave a taste of what is to come when they ended the four-match unbeaten run of the University of Johannesburg with a well-constructed 38-23 Varsity Cup victory at the UJ Stadium on Monday night.
FNB Tuks looked the more composed side throughout and for once the good work of their tight-five was rewarded with accuracy by their backs.
This win will give the students the confidence needed when they host the mighty Maties in Pretoria next week, whilst FNB UJ will have the daunting task of facing a bruised Ikeys side in Cape Town.
Although the score may not suggest it, the first half was a closely-fought contest and the UJ pack, in particular, will be pleased with how they performed at the set-pieces.
However, UJ nearly conceded a try on the opening facet of play but were quick to find their rhythm and subsequently dominated the opening exchanges.
After about 10 minutes of tug-a-war the visitors kicked into second gear and slowly moved up-field where the set up camp in the UJ half.
But despite the territorial advantage the men from Pretoria could not convert their visits to the opposition's 22 into points. To put this into perspective, Tuks were guilty of committing four handling errors inside the UJ 22 on the five occasions they were in that area.
Early on the points came from the respective flyhalves before the deadlock was finally broken by the hosts when eighthman Cameron Peverett displayed impeccable handling skills to send wing Aubrey McDonald over in the corner.
It was from that point that Tuks reverted to their territorial style of play, but still failed to convert when they had the chance to do so.
After several fumbles within metres of the UJ line, fullback Andries Coetzee ensured his side took the lead for the first time when he raced through to score Tuks' first try.
The lead was, however, very shortlived as UJ flyhalf Worsie Kotze responded immediately with a penalty when Tuks were guilty of obstruction from the returning kick-off.
This gave the hosts an 11-10 lead at the break.
The lead would again change hands shortly after the interval when Tuks skipper Wesley Dunlop banged over a penalty to take the score to 13-12 in favour of his team.
In contrast to the first half where had a say to a certain extent, Tuks were far more clinical in their approach and, by showing patience in their build-up, managed to score their second try through flank Warwick Tecklenburg.
UJ again responded with a quickfire try by speedster Lolo Waka, but could not come close enough as their man wearing pink pants, Theuns 'Worsie' Kotze, battled with his goalkicking at crucial moments.
To seal the deal Man-of-the-Match Arno Botha scored his brace to confirm that Tuks would be in the mix come the play-offs.
First he was pushed over by his pack from a rolling maul, after which he also picked-up from the base of a ruck to catch the hosts by surprise. That last try was a run-in from UJ's ten-metre line.
For FNB UJ:
Tries: McDonald, Waka, Wheeler
Pens: Kotze 2
For FNB Tuks:
Tries: Coetzee, Tecklenburg, Botha 2
Cons: Dunlop 3
Pens: Dunlop 4
UJ: 15 Earl Lewis, 14 Aubrey McDonald, 13 Justin St. Jerry, 12 Luan Steenkamp, 11 Lolo Waka, 10 Theuns Kotze, 9 Jacques Pretorius, 8 Cameron Peverett, 7 Justin Wheeler (captain), 6 Johan van Deventer, 5 Marnus Van Huyssteen, 4 Shane Kirkwood, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Francois du Toit, 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Alfred Ries, 17 Ollie Terblanche, 18 Yssel Swanepoel, 19 Wendal Wehr, 20 Rudi Paige, 21 André Smith, 22 Divan van Zyl, 23 Anthony Gallacher.
Tuks: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 GD Kotzee, 13 Deon Helberg, 12 Dabeon Draghoender, 11 Hayden Groepes, 10 Wesley Dunlop (captain), 9 Danie Faasen, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Jono Ross, 6 Warwick Tecklenburg, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Nqubeko Zulu, 3 Stephan Pretorius, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Vincent Koch.
Replacements: 16 Chris Crous, 17 Grant Kemp, 18 Sthembiso Mlongo, 19 Jacques Verwey, 20 Clayton Stewart, 21 JC Roos, 22 Arno van Zyl, 23 Morne Mellett.
Referee: Dilbert November