FNB Wits destroyed FNB UKZN 51-5, whilst FNB CUT narrowly squeaked home 30-29 against FNB UWC on Monday night as the two home teams pulled away from the chasing pack on the Varsity Shield log.
The two victorious outfits, who will meet each other next week in what is shaping up to be a cracking match, now look hot favourites to qualify for the final of the inaugural competition next month.
Wits showed UKZN absolutely no mercy as they ran in seven tries in a dominant display which brought an end to the visitors' outside chance of qualifying for the finale.
Wits came out of the blocks hard, breaking the UKZN defensive line regularly and they were rewarded when No.8 Jason Fraser broke off from a maul to get over for the first try.
Shortly afterwards speedy wing Nkuli Gamede hacked a loose ball ahead, gathered it and outstripped the UKZN defence to score under the poles.
Both of the try-scorers got on the scoresheet a second time - Fraser getting over after a well-worked set move and Gamede benefitting from the quick hands of his teammates as Wits took the four-try bonus point before half-time.
The game continued in the same vein in the second forty minutes when Wits flank Devon Montgomery made a turnover on his own tryline and found flying wing Riaan Arends who raced the length of the field to score.
UKZN finally got on the scoreboard as lock Tinashe Bopoto got over in the left corner after some slick handling, but that was to be the first and last points that his side would get on the night.
The home side ran in two more tries through fullback Sean Manton and loosehead prop Katlego Kgame to bring up the half-century of points and cap off a superb performance which will give them huge confidence ahead of next week's CUT clash.
The game in Bloemfontein was a lot tighter and went right down to the wire before CUT held out to hold on to their position at the top of the Varsity Shield log with a game in hand over nearest rivals Wits.
CUT and UWC traded penalty kicks in a cagey start to the game until CUT flank Francois Harvey got over for the first try after a period of sustained pressure from his team.
The home side's hooker Deon Gouws got over for his team's second try on the stroke of half-time and they took a comfortable 24-12 lead into the break.
But UWC came out strong after half-time and inside centre Adrian Herman got over the whitewash after a good line-out drive from his forward pack had forced CUT on to the back foot.
UWC's left wing and prolific try-scorer Anthony Volminck added to his try-tally for the season when he went over for his team's second try which made the score 29-26 in favour of the hosts.
UWC fullback Ambrose Steyn then slotted a mammoth 60-metre penalty goal to bring his side to within one point as they pressed for the win over the Varsity Shield log leaders.
The visitors got over the tryline in the dying seconds of the game but the referee ruled that their centre pairing had crossed one another and disallowed the try which would have snatched a famous victory.
All eyes will now be on next week's clash between the two top teams as they go head-to-head in what will most likely be a dress-rehearsal for the first-ever Varsity Shield Final.
The scorers and teams from Monday, March 14:
FNB CUT 30 FNB UWC 29
Tries: Harvey, Gouws
Pens: Myburgh 6
Tries: Herman, Volminck
Cons: Steyn 2
Pens: Steyn 5
FNB CUT: 15 Nhlanganiso Sibanda, 14 Alec Mhlanga, 13 Jaco Oosthuizen, 12 Leon Pretorius, 11 Frans Sisita, 10 Jannie Myburgh, 9 Inus Kritzinger (captain), 8 Juan Hugo, 7 Henku van Zyl, 6 Francois Harvey, 5 Gavin Annandale, 4 Johan Klopper, 3 Petri Coetzee, 2 Danie Smith, 1 Rudi Britz.
Replacements: 16 Deon Gouws, 17 Rudi Fuls, 18 Anton Smit, 19 Wally Cordier, 20 Mapello Mpondo, 21 Frederick Badenhorst, 22 PW Roux, 23 Herson Amill.
FNB UWC: 15 Ambrose Steyn, 14 Donovan Williams, 13 Justin McKay, 12 Adrian Herman, 11 Anthony Volminck, 10 Charl van Vollenhoven, 9 Fredrick Muller, 8 Heinrich Marcus, 7 Juan Paul Kellerman (captain), 6 Lwandile Makibi, 5 Garrick Matthee, 4 Calvin Hendricks, 3 Zolani Faku, 2 Charlton van Jaarsveld, 1 Kelvin de Bruyn.
Replacements: 16 Curtly de Kock, 17 Kieran James, 18 Griffith Temba, 19 Kemsley Wesso, 20 Denzil Willemse, 21 Kenwin Weiner, 22 Warwick Rhoda, 23 Mthetheleli Fuzani.
Referee: Lusanda Jam
FNB WITS 51 FNB UKZN 5
Tries: Fraser 2, Gamede 2, Arends, Manton, Kgame
Cons: Lizamore 5
Pens: Lizamore 2
FNB Wits: 15 Sean Manton, 14 Nkuli Gamede, 13 Brendon Lizamore, 12 Rudolf Prinsloo, 11 Riaan Arends, 10 Greg Blom, 9 David Turnbull, 8 Jason Fraser, 7 Devon Montgomery, 6 Clayton Allem, 5 Charles Baggott, 4 Ernest van Niekerk, 3 Paulo Ferreira, 2 Rory Anderson, 1 Katlego Kgame.
Replacements: 16 Tyrell Tintinger, 17 Brendan Whyte, 18 Ryan Odendaal, 19 Brent Crossley, 20 Clayton Redford, 21 Emmanuel Mphande, 22 Heinke Hartdegen, 23 Katlego Ntsie.
FNB UKZN: 15 Jaco Potgieter, 14 Gareth Borchardt, 13 Willem Rheeder, 12 Kurt Mavrodaris, 11 Jake Adam, 10 Peter Grunow, 9 Zander Engelbrecht, 8 Kyle Ross, 7 Lean Stevens, 6 Lwazi Ngcungama, 5 Tinashe Bopoto, 4 Gerrit Fourie, 3 Sizwe Kubheka, 2 Justin Meanwell (captain), 1 Kurt Schonert.
Replacements: 16 Dayne Smith, 17 Marc Colia, 18 Chris Ndlovu, 19 Andre Greyvenstein, 20 Calvin Channing, 21 Wessel Booysen, 22 Ricky Chirengende, 23 Mazisi Ostrich.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen