Cape Town - The UKZN Impi lead the way after the opening round of the Varsity Shield after notching a valuable away win against UWC.
Last year's beaten finalists picked up a 16-5 win over UWC in what was a scrappy game in Bellville, while in Pretoria the TUT Vikings claimed a hard-fought 21-16 win at home against the Fort Hare Blues.
That means that the Impi top the standings after the first round of action, followed by TUT who trail them on points difference, while Fort Hare have a single bonus point to show for their efforts.
The visitors from Kwa-Zulu Natal scored a try in each half to take four valuable log points on the road, while former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers' UWC charges were left empty-handed in front of their home fans.
It was a scrappy encounter throughout, with both teams making their fair share of basic errors, but it was the visitors that ended with the spoils thanks to tries from inside centre Marius Louw and livewire flyhalf Innocent Radebe who claimed the Player that Rocks award.
The hosts staged a late rally as they looked to salvage something from the encounter, but it was not to be and they could only manage a single try to wing Gavian Cloete in response.
The match in Pretoria was a much tighter affair, and it took a late try from Vikings outside centre Vian Riekert to clinch the win after the teams had been deadlocked at 16-16.
TUT outscored the Eastern Cape side by three tries to one in the end, but Fort Hare remained firmly in the mix throughout thanks to a dominant scrum and the trusty boot of flyhalf Sivakele Ulana.
The UKZN Impi host the TUT Vikings in Pietermaritzburg next week, while FNB Wits make their return to the Varsity Shield in Alice where they will square off with the Fort Hare Blues after a bye in the first round.
TUT Vikings v Fort Hare BluesTUT - 21: Tries: Herd (2), Riekert; Conversions: Walters (2)
Fort Hare: - 16: Try: Mandaba; Conversion: Ulana; Penalties: Ulana (4)
15 Paul Walters, 14 Tovhowani Nefale, 13 Vian Riekert, 12 Edwin Oliver, 11 Nelis Snyman, 10 Lee Roy Afrika, 9 Shawn Jaards, 8 Claude Johannes, 7 Attie Joubert, 6 Mandla Mdaka, 5 Jaco van Staden, 4 Armand Marshall, 3 James Frost, 2 Hamish Herd (captain), 1 Wian van Schalkwyk.
Substitutes: 16 Jean Claude le Roux, 17 Ryan Sim, 18 Ross Middelcote, 19 Wessel Jordaan, 20 Deon Joubert, 21 Dylan du Buisson, 22 DK Mukendi, 23 RW De Wal.Fort Hare Blues:
15 Akhona Matutu, 14 Hlubi Mvana, 13 Lundi Ralarala, 12 Lithabile Mgwadleka, 11 Aziyena Mandaba, 10 Sivakele Ulana, 9 Khaya Siqoko, 8 Athenkosi Manentsa, 7 Madoda Ludidi, 6 Siphesihle Punguzwa, 5 Sibusiso Sityebi, 4 Lwando Nteta, 3 Olwethu Mputla, 2 Sesethu Time, 1 Lwando Mabenge.
Substitutes: 16 Lutho Klaas, 17 Zanoxolo Qwele, 18 Ntyatyambo Mkhafu, 19 Malusi Vula, 20 Elandre Sias, 21 Siviwe Bisset, 22 Khanyiso Komani, 23 Litha Labase.
FNB UWC v FNB UKZN
UWC - 5: Try: CloeteCloeteUKZN Impi:Tries: Louw, Radebe; Conversions: Radebe (2)
15 Darian Hock, 14 Gavian Cloete, 13 Minenhle Mthethwa, 12 Gordon-Wayne Plaatjes, 11 James Verity-Amm, 10 Quaid Langeveldt, 9 Matthew Nortje, 8 Darren Luiters, 7 Jose Julies (captain), 6 Matthew Faught, 5 Stuart Austin, 4 Heynes Kotze, 3 Tahriq Allen, 2 Lifa Ghana, 1 Curtis Beukes.
Substitutes: 16 Chadwin Robertson, 17 Wayron Losper, 18 Mitch Lingeveldt, 19 Brandon Beukman, 20 Damian Stevens, 21 Lubabalo Faleni, 22 Shane Pietersen, 23 Gustav Heydenrych.
15 Spa Dube, 14 Hendrik Lategan, 13 Marcel Coetzee, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Shayne Makombe, 10 Innocent Radebe, 9 Graham Koch, 8 Adam Wessels, 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Lwazi Ngcungama, 5 Christie van der Merwe, 4 David Harel, 3 Sizwe Kubheka, 2 Chris de Beer, 1 Njabulo Mkize.
Substitutes: 16 Mikyle Webster, 17 Ntando Mpofana, 18 Michael Hutton, 19 Sanele Malwane, 20 Langelihle Shange, 21 Gavin Nyawata, 22 Yandisa Mdolomba, 23 Matthew Mandioma.