The pressure will be on in the penultimate round of the Varsity Cup league stage on Monday.
With six teams still in the hunt for a place in the semi-finals, round six could have a major influence on the final log positions and play-off venues.
Log-leaders Tuks face fourth-placed UJ in a high-stakes Gauteng derby in Johannesburg, while the other big game will see the unbeaten Shimlas host defending champions UCT in Bloemfontein.
The other two matches will involve teams in the bottom half of the standings, with Pukke looking to move into the top four with an away win against newcomers CUT and three-time champions Maties hoping to keep their play-off hopes alive when they host NMMU.
The Stellenbosch side have only missed out on the semi-finals once in 2011, and they will know that defeat to the seventh-placed Madibaz will take their fate out of their hands.
Maties showed good character to fight back and beat UJ for their first win of the season in round five, but they will face an NMMU side that will be desperate to salvage something from a disappointing campaign.
In Bloemfontein, the CUT Ixias will want to be more competitive after suffering five heavy defeats so far, but have their work cut out for them against a hungry Pukke side, while across town, Shimlas will be looking to extend their unbeaten streak against a confident Ikeys team coming off a big win in Potchefstroom.
The final match of the evening will be in Johannesburg where UJ will be out to prove their play-off credentials at home against a rampant Tuks side that has their eye on a home semi-final.
In the Varsity Shield, the top two teams will do battle when unbeaten Wits host UKZN in Johannesburg, while UWC’s slim chances of catching them rest on their clash with TUT in Bellville.
The winner in Johannesburg will go to the top of the standings, and the equation is simple for UWC, who have to win their last three games to have any hope of sneaking into the final.
SHIMLAS vs UCT
Shimla Park, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 16.45 (SuperSport 1)
Shimlas – 15 AJ Coertzen (c), 14 Vuyani Maqina, 13 Nico Lee, 12 Tertius Kruger, 11 Maphutha Dolo, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Mthokozisi Mkhabela, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Gerhard Olivier, 6 Daniel Maartens, 5 Niel Claassen, 4 Johan van der Hoogt, 3 Chase Morison, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Theunis Neuwoudt.
Subs: 16 Elandre Huggett, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Boela Venter, 19 De Wet Kruger, 20 Renier Botha, 21 JP Coetzee, 22 Refuoe Rampete, 23 Conraad van Vuuren.
UCT – 15 Khanyo Ngcukana, 14 Richard Stewart, 13 Lihleli Xoli, 12 Nicholas Holton, 11 Dylan Sage, 10 Warren Seals, 9 James Alexander, 8 Guy Alexander, 7 Mark Prior, 6 Jason Klaasen, 5 James Kilroe, 4 Jade Kriel, 3 Digby Webb, 2 Chad Solomon, 1 Joel Carew.
Subs: 16 Michael Kennedy, 17 Robin Murray, 18 Luke Stringer, 19 Tinotenda Zakeyo, 20 Ryand Dugmore, 21 Guy Schwikkard, 22 Nathan Nel, 23 Kyle Whyte.
MATIES vs NMMU
Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch
Kick-off: 18.30 (not televised)
Maties – 15 Mike Muller, 14 Craig Barry, 13 Christoff van Tonder, 12 Koos Loubser, 11 JP Lewis, 10 Brandon Thomson, 9 Bjorn Bernardo, 8 Kobus van Dyk, 7 Justin Benn, 6 Beyers de Villiers, 5 Wilhelm van der Sluys (c), 4 Lourens Fick, 3 Abel de Klerk, 2 Marko Janse van Rensburg, 1 Niel Oelofse.
Subs: 16 Craig Corbett, 17 John Hubert Meyer, 18 Janko Venter, 19 Lungelo Chonco, 20 Remu Malan, 21 Ernest Stapelberg, 22 Jamie Joseph, 23 Jacobus van der Merwe.
NMMU – 15 Jarryd Buys (c), 14 Tythan Adams, 13 Micheal Barnardt, 12 Devon Lailvaux, 11 Brian Skosana, 10 Steven Hansel, 9 Enrico Acker, 8 Andisa Ntsila, 7 Philip Odendaal, 6 CJ Velleman, 5 Robert Louw, 4 Stephan Zaayman, 3 Steven Robbeson, 2 Jody Reyneke, 1 Marzuk Maarman.
Subs: 16 Dane van der Westhuyzen, 17 Laurence Christie, 18 Elandre van der Merwe, 19 Ivan-John du Preez, 20 Ivan ludick, 21 Andile Jho, 22 Khaya Malotana, 23 Arno Ebersohn.
CUT vs PUKKE
CUT Rugby Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 18.30 (not televised)
CUT – 15 Henry immelman, 14 Dean Kouprihanoff, 13 Jacques Nel, 12 Ali Mgijima, 11 Lethole Makoena, 10 Duan Pretorius, 9 Christiaan Erasmus, 8 Jean Pretorius, 7 Jean-Claude Fourie, 6 Frans Sisita, 5 Fanie Coetzee, 4 JJ Nel, 3 Niel Schoombee, 2 Len Noort, 1 Gerard Baard.
Subs: 16 Juandre Roux, 17 Ian Smith, 18 Rayno Nel, 19 Victor Maruping, 20 Dean Jacobs, 21 Dean Rossouw, 22 Naude van Biljon, 23 Boetie Makethlo.
Pukke – TBC
UJ vs TUKS
UJ Stadium, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 19.00 (SuperSport 1)
UJ – 15 Ronald Brown, 14 Bradley Moolman, 13 Robert De Bruyn, 12 Adriaan Vermeulen, 11 Aphiwe Dyanti, 10 Jaco Fourie, 9 Chuma Faas, 8 Dylan Peterson, 7 Kyle Van Dalen, 6 Kobus Porter (c), 5 David Antonites, 4 Werner Lourens, 3 Nico Du Plessis, 2 Siphatho Qinisile, 1 Gareth Milasinovich.
Subs: 16 Jannes Snyman, 17 Raeez Salie, 18 Griffith van Wyk, 19 Wiaan Conradie, 20 Hilton Mudarika, 21 James Campbell, 22 Dominic Kroezen, 23 Brandon Landsberg.
TUKS – 15 Dewald Human, 14 Damian van Wyk, 13 Daniel Kriel, 12 John Jackson, 11 Jermaine Kleinsmith, 10 Joshua Stander, 9 André Warner, 8 Clyde Davids, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Wiaan Liebenberg (c), 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Irne Herbst, 3 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Nqobisizwe Mxoli.
Subs: 16 Jan Enslin, 17 Neethling Fouche, 18 Dennis Visser, 19 Clyde Davids, 20 Emile Temperman, 21 Jacques Rossouw, 22 Adrian Maebane, 23 Andrew Beerwinkel.
By Michael de Vries
Photo: SASPA/Varsity Cup