FNB Wits fought back to beat FNB CUT 26-22 and replace them at the top of the Varsity Shield log whilst FNB Fort Hare held off FNB UKZN to win 28-22 in Alice on Monday night.
Wits went into the break in Bloemfontein 8-12 down after CUT fullback Andre le Roux had punished them with four successful goal kicks.
However, the visitors drew first blood in the second period through a penalty to flyhalf Clayton Redford which made it 12-11 to CUT. Wits then hit the lead through a try to their scrumhalf Brent Crossley which was successfully converted by Redford.
CUT hit back with a try to their inside centre Maphelo Mpondo and the conversion gave them a one-point lead in this tense match between the two top teams in the Varsity Shield.
Wits took the lead back in the see-saw battle when their inside centre Rudolf Prinsloo kicked a penalty and the win was sealed by an unconverted try by left-wing Riaan Arends.
The victory puts Wits on top of the log but CUT have a game in hand as they face UKZN in Pietermaritzburg in next week in the final round of fixtures before the play-off.
In Alice, Fort Hare took an early lead thanks to a try to their lock Itumeleng Mokae and a penalty shortly afterwards from flyhalf Saneliso Ngoma.
UKZN got back into the game thanks to the steady boot of their fullback Jaco Potgieter who scored all of their points on the night, and when Potgieter converted his own try the visitors had the lead at 13-8.
Fort Hare hit back through a try to flying left wing Garth van Rayner and replacement flyhalf Qondani Katywa was there to add the extras which made it 16-15 to UKZN.
Katywa continued his good work by kicking a penalty and then putting over a drop-goal to put his team in control.
Fort Hare scored a late try after a clearance kick was charged down and once Katywa kicked the conversion the game was sealed.
The home side held on for their second victory of the season and they move past UKZN on the Varsity Shield log.
The team from Pietermaritzburg now occupy last place and they will want to do something about that when they face CUT at home next week Monday.
The scorers and teams from Monday, March 21:
FNB CUT 22 FNB WITS 26
Con: Le Roux
Pens: Le Roux 5
Tries: Prinsloo, Crossley, Arends
Pens: Redford 2 Lizamore
FNB CUT: 15 Andre le Roux, 14 Nhlanganiso Sibanda, 13 Jaco Oosthuizen, 12 Maphelo Mpondo, 11 Frans Sisita, 10 Noel Marx, 9 Inus Kritzinger (captain), 8 Juan Hugo, 7 Henku van Zyl, 6 Francois Harvey, 5 Gavin Annadale, 4 Johan Klopper, 3 Petri Coetzee, 2 Deon Gouws, 1 Rudi Britz.
Replacements: 16 Danie Smith, 17 Werner Pretorius, 18 Anton Smit, 19 Leon Pretorius, 20 Darren Colbe, 21 Frederick Badenhorst, 22 Jacques Bussack, 23 Danie van der Merwe.
FNB Wits: 15 Juandre Kruger, 14 Emmanuel Mphande, 13 Heinke Hartdegen, 12 Rudolf Prinsloo, 11 Riaan Arends, 10 Clayton Redford, 9 Brent Crossley, 8 Sheldon Breet, 7 Shai Korb, 6 Ryan Odendaal (captain), 5 Katlego Ntsie, 4 Brendan Whyte, 3 Paulo Ferreira, 2 Tyrell Tintinger, 1 Anele Guzana.
Replacements: 16 Katlego Kgame, 17 Charles Baggott, 18 Devon Montgomery, 19 David Turnbull, 20 Andrew Keightley-Smith, 21 Jason Fraser, 22 Bredan Lizamore, 23 Rory Anderson.
FNB FORT HARE 28 FNB UKZN 22
For Fort Hare:
Tries: Mokae, Van Rayner 2
Cons: Katywa 2
Pens: Ngoma, Katywa
Pens: Potgieter 5
FNB Fort Hare: FNB Fort Hare: 15 Ayanda Mateisi, 14 Vuyo Mboto, 13 Buntu Ntlanzi, 12 Lukhanyiso Magele, 11 Garth van Rayner, 10 Saneliso Ngoma, 9 Sibabalwe Mtsulwana, 8 Thando Ndondo (captain), 7 Nkosikhona Nofuma, 6 Oke Dubase, 5 Sokhana Mkona, 4 Itumeleng Mokae, 3 Xola Mapapu, 2 Khwezilokusa Mkhafu, 1 Luvuyo Kama.
Replacements: 16 Lihle Mpapha, 17 Sive Ntwasa, 18 Matomela Mabhengu, 19 Sibabalwe Tshoni, 20 Sikhangele Mateza, 21 Qondani Katywa, 22 Thabo Ratyana, 23 Lukhanyiso Fana.
FNB UKZN: 15 Jaco Potgieter, 14 Kurt Mavrodaris, 13 Willem Rheeder, 12 Wessel Booysen, 11 Jake Adam, 10 Peter Grunow, 9 Calvin Channing, 8 Kyle Ross, 7 Robert Warnock, 6 Lwazi Ngcungama, 5 Tinashe Bopoto, 4 Chris Ndlovu, 3 Sizwe Kubheka, 2 Dayne Smith, 1 Marc Colia.
Replacements: 16 Nico du Plooy, 17 Luciando Santos, 18 Sky Tshabalala, 19 Lwazi Ngcungama, 20 Zander Engelbrecht, 21 Sipho Evans, 22 Ricky Chirengende, 23 Mazisi Ostrich.