On Monday, FNB Wits dished out a master class performance on defence on their home turf to secure 16-10 victory over FNB UP-Tuks, whose coach is talking up a shake-up as a result.
Wits' victory is undoubtedly going to heat up the battle to qualify for the semifinals. Apart from FNB Maties, who seems sure of playing a home semifinal, nothing is a done deal.
For UP-Tuks, Wits and FNB UCT the next three weeks are going a game of musical chairs with no one knowing who will be 'seated' when the final whistle in the round-robin games blows.
As things stand, Maties top the log with 23 points after five games. The Stripe Generation sit second with 22 points (six games), Wits are third with 20 points (five games) and the Ikey Tigers are fourth with 20 points (six games). FNB NWU and FNB CUT, though not mathematically out of the playoff reckoning yet, are both only on 13 points.
UP-Tuks's next game, in two weeks, against UCT, is going to boil down to go big or go home. If UP-Tuks loses in Cape Town, there is a real chance they might have to face off against Maties in the semifinal. If they win, they will in all probability play face their vanquishers Wits at home or in Johannesburg.
UP-Tuks coach Nico Luus had no excuses for his charges' defeat against the Witsies. According to him, the Stripe Generations got 'out-tackled".
"Through their outstanding defensive play, Wits ensured that we were continuously under pressure. It led to us making mistakes at crucial times. The first try Wits scored was an excellent example as to how they were able to capitalise on our mistakes. Unfortunately for us, we missed out scoring from penalties also."
With a week off now, Luus has identified two things his team will need to work on before playing the Ikey Tigers: scrums as well as the team's play when on the attack.
"We are getting to be to one dimensional when we have the ball in hand. It is time for new ideas. It might be a good idea to make one or two tactical changes."
Article courtesy Wilhelm de Swardt/TuksSport Media