ALL roads will lead to the NMMU Stadium on Monday when the unbeaten Madibaz face a resurgent University of Cape Town (UCT) outfit in round three of the Varsity Cup (kick-off 7pm).
Wins over the Maties and the University of Johannesburg (UJ) have given the Madibaz a perfect start to the competition and they will be eyeing a third consecutive win in front of their home fans.
Thanks to their impressive opening salvo the Madibaz are second on the log with nine points, just one point adrift of the leaders Pukke.
After losing their opening match 47-24 to Pukke, UCT (Ikeys) hit back with a 33-16 win over arch-rivals Maties on Monday.
The scene is now set for a titanic struggle and the Madibaz will hoping their forwards can show the same determination as they did in their opening game against the Maties.
It was just UCT’s second-ever Varsity Cup win against Maties, and their first in Stellenbosch, leaving the three-time champions winless after two rounds.
UJ looked to have victory wrapped up on Monday, but NMMU had other ideas as Chris Cloete – who scored five tries against Maties last week – crashed over from a driving maul to clinch victory.
The home side struck first with wing Michael Haznar sneaking over in the corner after a number of phases in the Madibaz 22 had created an overlap out wide.
However, the visitors would go into the half-time break with an 8-5 lead after a break from wing Yamkela Ngam in his own half saw him dot down between the poles, with flyhalf Gavin Hauptfleisch adding the conversion.
The Bay side increased that lead shortly after the break, with fullback Donovan Marais scoring a try after another great break from their own territory.
The home side regrouped after that setback and launched a sustained period of pressure in NMMU territory which eventually resulted in lock David Antonites crashing over for a try in the corner from a driving maul.
The conversion from Marais Schmidt levelled the scores at 13-13, and the game was there for the taking in the final 20 minutes.
Both teams were reduced to 14 men when a scuffle broke out, with Haznar and Madibaz hooker Martin Ferreira sent to the sin bin.
The final stages of the match were tense. Schmidt stepped up to slot a late penalty kick that gave UJ a slender 15-13 lead.
However, the Madibaz played right to the final whistle and they got the ultimate reward when Cloete powered over the line to seal a dramatic victory.