THE Madibaz did well to negotiate the driving rain in Pretoria to secure a tough 19-9 victory over defending champions FNB Tuks last night.
NMMU outscored their hosts by two tries to one to move past them on the standings into third place, while Tuks were left down in fourth after their second consecutive defeat at home.
The visitors made the early running as they took the game to Tuks and won a series of penalties in their 22, but the rainy conditions made the ball extremely difficult to control and they eventually had to settle for a penalty from flyhalf Gavin Hauptfleisch to open the scoring.
The hosts got on the scoreboard with a penalty from flyhalf Tian Schoeman, but Hauptfleisch responded soon afterwards to keep the Madibaz ahead at 4-2.
They held that advantage at the first strategy break after an opening 20 minutes which saw the teams battling the conditions as much as each other, but Tuks were able to level things up soon afterwards through another Schoeman penalty.
However, it was not long before the visitors regained the lead when a turnover ball was sent out to flying wing Tythan Adams who got over in the corner to put them 9-4 up.
Tuks looked for a response at the end of the half, but their handling let them down in the wet and NMMU went into the half-time break with a valuable five-point advantage.
The visitors made a promising start to the second half as they marched deep into Tuks territory, and it was skipper Roy Godfrey who got over for the try which gave them a comfortable 17-4 lead.
That left Tuks with it all to do in front of their home crowd, and the fans did not have to wait long for something to cheer about as flank Chris Massyn crossed the whitewash to cut NMMU’s lead to 17-9.
Another Hauptfleisch penalty saw the Madibaz take a handy 19-9 advantage into the second strategy break, with the hosts needing something special in the final 20 minutes to pull off a win.
Tuks were desperate to make a late charge and pressed hard in search of a response, but the Madibaz defence held up well under pressure.
Penalties: Schoeman (2)
Tries: Adams, Godfrey
Penalties: Hauptfleisch (3)