Wednesday Column

SA Home Loans Durban Collegians - the 2014 Fidelity Security Premier Division Champions - and Jonsson College Rovers got their respective Cell C Community Cup campaigns off on a positive start in a double-header hosted by Collegians on KP 10 last Saturday.

The good news for club rugby in KZN didnít end there with the FNB UKZN Impi continuing on their path to possible Varsity Shield glory with a fine 21-5 win over their visitors from the University of the Western Cape on Monday evening on the Howard College campus. It was a very special evening having Jess Foord from the Jess Foord Foundation on hand supporting the local students who have raised money for her foundation, supporting the worthy cause: Woman against Rape. Also supporting the Impi was Miss Varsity Shield Michelle Crichton and the five Miss UKZN beauty finalists.

Rovers were first up in the early game against the brave visitors from Polekwane, Noordelikes, and were simply far too strong for them. Playing well below par, Rovers still led 34-0 at the break as they looked a far more structured outfit and after some 15 minutes of grueling rugby against the fired-up and enthusiastic visitors, opened the scoring with a long range penalty from flyhalf and skipper Chris Micklewood. From then on Rovers took total control of the game, going on to win 54-15 after leading 34-0 at the the break. The former Springbok flyer Jongi Nokwe showing signs of just how fleetfooted he still is, led the try scoring charge crossing for two fine touchdowns with the others going to prop Sangoni Mxoli, Micklewood, centre Chris Jordaan and Matthew Phillips coming off the bench. Micklewood went on to kick the remaining points.

Noordelikes replied with tries from No 8 Scheepers Lubbe and centre Dumpies van de Merwe with flyhalf Zander Beyleveldt kicking a penalty and a conversion.

Durban Collegians were made to work a lot harder for their five log points after beating Welkom Rovers 30-12. Leading only 8-6 at the break, Collegians certainly made heavy weather of their hard-fought victory, perhaps largely because they have been away from the National Club Competition for a number of years and are busy finding their feet. Certainly they can ill-afford to perform the way they did against their visitors from the Griffons when they meet strongest challengers in their Pool, Despath, later in the competition.

They did pull themselves together later in the second half and thanks to a superbly executed try scored by Calvin Sacks coming off the bench almost at the death, they secured their all-important bonus point. Their other tries came from flanker Dylan Nel, prop Dean Shelley, and wing Lindani Ndlela with flyhalf Brendan Cope kicking the balance. Welkom Rovers replied with four penalties from the boot of flyhalf Tiaan van Wyk.

Rovers travel to Pretoria this weekend to play Pretoria Police, the side they beat in the final of the 2012 Club Championships, so needless to say, the Bobbies will be looking for some kind of revenge while Collegians will also be away to play Wesbank in the Boland.

In the Varsity Shield game, the Impi scored their points through tries by Retief Marais, Marcelle Coetzee and Lange Shange with Spa Dube converting all three. The KZN students will now face Wits away, which will be a crucial game for them before returning to face Fort Hare in their return match at Howard College.

Nashua Crusaders will be hosting the third Flya Club Tournament, which will be played over two weekends starting Friday 20 March and ending 27 March. Varsity College will be hosting the inaugural Shoshaloza Under 20 Rugby Tournament at Riverside on Saturday and some entertaining rugby from the youngsters is on the cards starting at 13.30pm.

- Jos Robson