Pukke got back to winning ways by beating UJ 18-15 in Potchefstroom, while there were also Varsity Cup wins for Wits, Maties and Shimlas on Monday.
In a game of high intensity, it was Pukke who were the more clinical side as UJ could not make their territorial dominance count.
Pukke flyhalf Schalk Hugo and UJ’s Jeanluc Cilliers traded penalties before Hugo put Pukke 6-3 up.
UJ thought they had the first try of the match when centre Jaco Fourie received a pass from Cilliers to score, but it was ruled to be forward by the TMO.
Pukke then scored the first try when a good backline move led to centre Evardi Boshoff powering over the line in the 25th minute.
The home side extended their lead when good hands from fullback Tapiwa Mafura led to a superb finish from wing Dean Gordon in the corner to make the score 18-3 at half-time.
UJ continued to dominate territory and possession in the second half, but made handling errors at crucial times. The visitors received a further blow when Fourie was forced off with what appeared to be an ankle injury and his replacement, Louis van der Schyff, had to be stretchered off after hyper-extending his knee.
UJ got themselves back into the match with an unconverted try from hooker and captain Jannes Snyman on the back of a powerful driving maul. UJ called their power play, choosing to remove replacement scrumhalf Nkosana Mathaba and Mafura. After losing the ball, UJ regained it and quick-tapped a penalty in the Pukke 22 to put flank Adriaan Bester under the posts to make it 18-15.
Pukke then closed out the game to earn a hard-fought win.
Earlier in the day, Wits temporarily topped the table after beating NMU 32-29 in Port Elizabeth. The Madibaz took a 20-18 lead into half-time thanks to tries from No 8 Justin Hollis and debutant lock Ruben le Roux.
However, Wits hit back in the second half with tries from hooker CJ Conradie and a seven-point try from wing Daniel Kasende, before holding NMU out after the home side narrowed the gap with a try from lock Wynand Grassman.
In Stellenbosch, Maties regained their composure after going down 12-0 to CUT to win the match 72-12, with flank Marno Redlinghuys scoring a hat-trick of tries.
Shimlas grabbed a crucial win in Cape Town as they beat UCT 32-27.
Varsity Cup Results (Round 4):
NMU (29) – Tries: Justin Hollis, Ruben le Roux, Wynand Grassmann. Conversions: Simon Bolze (2), Henrique Olivier. Penalties: Bolze (2).
Wits (32) – Tries: Constant Beckerling, Daniel Kapepula, Cecil Conradie, Lwazi Monakali. Conversions: Christian Humphries (3).
Maties (72) – Tries: Duncan Saal, Marno Redelinghuys (3), Edwill van der Merwe, Chris Smit, Reinhardt Fortuin, Brendon Nell, Stephan Streicher. Conversions: Reinhardt Fortuin (7), Chris Smit.
CUT (12) – Tries: Dimitrio Tieties; Masego Toolo. Conversion: Heinrich Bitzi.
Pukke (18) – Tries: Evardi Boshoff, Dean Gordon. Conversions: Schalk Hugo. Penalties: Hugo (2).
UJ (15) – Tries: Jannes Snyman, Adriaan Bester. Conversion: Jeanluc Cilliers. Penalty: Cilliers.
Photo: PictureCafe/Varsity Cup