The Varsity Shield starts to reach a boiling point

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LEE KHOTLELE
Bloemfontein – The Varsity Shield teams are feeling the heat as the competition’s final, which will take place in three weeks, slowly approaches.

Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and University of Fort Hare (UFH) have three games remaining while the rest only have two.

The tournament began on 27 January and has, yet again, produced amazing moments of rugby. The defending champions, Central University of Technology’s Ixias want to bag this year’s title as well as they are 10 points clear at the summit of the log.

They have won the title twice thus far (in 2011 and 2013), and were the runner-ups in 2012, after losing to Wits, who were subsequently promoted to the Varsity Cup competition.

The defending champions have 26 points after six matches. They have won five of their matches so far; twice against the University of the Western Cape as well as the Pretoria’s TUT. They suffered their only defeat against Fort Hare whom they will meet in their last match of the round-robin stage.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal is second with 16 points, while Fort Hare has 13 points, which sees them lying in third.

Elsewhere, the TUT-Vikings languish at the bottom of the log after securing just 10 points from their five matches. The host is UWC-Bushies this coming week, who are one of the two sides they have beaten thus far. Both teams will be looking for a win in their remaining matches to better their positions on the log.

In their next match, the UKZN-Impi travel to Pretoria to face TUT and a win will keep the Pietermaritzburg based sides’ play-off aspirations alive. They will then welcome the Ixias the following week, in round 10. The last time these two sides met was in the opening match of the tournament in Bloemfontein, where the home side recorded a narrow 26-25 victory over former All Blacks coach, John Mitchells’ chargers.

The Ixias meanwhile are virtually assured of a spot in the final. However, a win will seal the deal.

Full fixtures:

All matches kick off at 19:00

10/03/2014: TUT vs UWC
                       UFH vs CUT

17/03/2014: TUT vs UKZN
                       UWC UFH

24/03/2014: UFH vs TUT
                       UKZN vs CUT