Wednesday Column

It was a weekend of mixed fortunes for the KZNRU Club game. The positive news was seeing former Springbok and Sharks captain Wahl Bartmann, now the CEO of Fidelity Security, handing over a handsome cheque to CEO of the Sharks Steve Saad at Growthpoint KINGS PARK at Saturday’s Super Rugby match between the Cell C Sharks and Warratahs. He also announced that his company is extending their KZNRU club rugby sponsorship deal for another three years. Bartmann, who played club rugby for Harlequins and Nashua Crusaders whilst representing the Sharks retains a huge passion for the club game, believing it should be looked after for the future of the sport.

Saad, who himself was an exciting flanker in his day for the now disbanded DHS Old Boys, knows the importance of keeping the game alive at a grass roots level and praised Bartmann’s contribution in helping keep the KZN club game at all levels in good health.

Sadly it was not all good news for KZNRU. The FNB UKZN Impi lost 35-26 to 2013 Varsity Shield winners CUT Ixias, after defeating the very same side 39-21 in Pietermaritburg last week. This time around home ground advantage allowed the Bloemfontein hosts to turn the tables on the KZN students in a tightly contested struggle for both the title and a place in the Varsity Cup next year. The Impi will travel to Gauteng next week to face the University of Johannesburg in another playoff game.

The KZN students have time and again lost games they should have won. This was the case against CUT as the game was there for the taking, but handling errors and, on occasion, ill-discipline let them down badly.

Jonsson College Rovers flew the KZNRU flag high though, becoming the only side in the Cell C Community Cup competition to secure a place in the playoffs with a game in hand. They travelled to Gauteng to face their toughest opposition in Pool B, Roodepoort last Saturday and secured a hard earned but convincing 41-20 victory, out-scoring their hosts by six tries to two, and were still not sure of just how good they really are at the end of it all.

Former Springbok wing Jongi Nokwe, who has been out the game for a long while due to injuries, is fast regaining his confidence and led the charge with two of the best tries in the game. The other tries went to centre Matt Philips, wing Dusty Noble, utility forward Kirk Twine, and fly half Chris Micklewood. Jors Dannhauser kicked three conversions and penalty, and Jandre Smal contributed with a conversion.

College Rovers will meet Welkom Rovers at home on KP 3 on Saturday in their last Pool match, with the kick off scheduled for 4pm. They know full well their place in the play-offs is secure, but will still want to finish with a flourish and keep their place even more convincingly at the top of the Pool B log table.

The Impala, coached by former Sharks player and coach Hugh Reece-Edwards, and Hamilton go head-to-head to see who finish on top of Pool D. While in Pool C surprise package Roses United face Centurion, the club that popular former Southern Natal and Kokstad Chairman Louis Stander has been involved with in recent times. Border champions Old Selbornians finish off their Pool A campaign on top of their table with an all to play for game against the 2013 inaugural Community Cup champions Despatch. So there is an exciting weekend of club rugby to look forward to.

The local KZNRU league matches also get under way with the opening round of Fidelity Security Under-20 A Frank Norris Trophy being played on Friday evening. 2013 champions Varsity College will host the Port Shepstone’s South Coast Warriors, College Rovers entertain UKZN Durban, and SA Home Loans Durban Collegians are at home against Crusaders. All games kick off at 8pm. On Saturday in the Fidelity Security First Division South Section Westville meet Ballito Dolphins at Jimmy Bellows, Jaguars are at home against Harlequins, Hillcrest travel to Port Shepstone to play the South Coast Warriors, and UKZN Durban host Richards Bay. All games kick off at 3.30 pm.

Meanwhile the First Division North Section league kicked off last Saturday with 2013 champions Piet Retief kicking off their season on a high with a convincing 60-20 win over Volksrust.

Jos Robson