In a dramatic final round of the 2023 Varsity Cup, the NWU Eagles and UFS Shimlas booked home semi-finals, while UJ escaped the relegation zone by condemning UP-Tuks to a winless campaign.
The NWU Eagles left it late to secure top spot after beating Wits 36-3 in a lightning-affected game in Johannesburg.
Kick-off was at 7pm but the final whistle only blew at 11.15pm as the players were forced from the field due to bad weather and heavy lightning strikes.
Earlier in the day, Shimlas produced a masterclass of attacking rugby to thrash Maties 44-12 and book a home semi-final by finishing second on the log.
The men from Bloemfontein became the first Shimlas side to beat the Maroon Machine in Stellenbosch, the previous best being a 13-13 drawback in 2014.
The three universities were joined by the UCT Ikeys in the top four after the Cape side demolished the CUT Ixias 79-31 in Bloemfontein.
After leading just 19-5 at the break, the Ikey Tigers ran in a total of seven second-half tries to secure their place in the top four and send the Ixias into the promotion-relegation match.
UJ escaped the dreaded promotion-relegation zone with a 38-31 victory over Tuks in Pretoria. For the defending champions, it was a disappointing end to a dreadful season, finishing bottom of the log with no victories.
In next week’s semi-finals, Shimlas host UCT in Bloemfontein before the Eagles take on Maties in Potchefstroom.
The CUT Ixias will face the Madibaz in the promotion-relegation match.
Photo: Luigi Bennett / Varsity Cup