Wednesday Club Column

The FNB UKZN Impi rugby side's chances of playing in the Varsity Cup faded away into the late afternoon Potchefstroom air after they were comprehensively beaten 42-8 by the University of Johannesburg in a promotion relegation match on Monday afternoon after only trailing 13-8 at the break.

The brave KZN students looked as though they were going to cope against a far more organised UJ outfit in the first half but faded badly in the second session, clearly showing the huge gap between the Varsity Shield and Varsity Cup competitions. What has also certainly been noticeable on the showing of the Varsity Cup final between the Ikeys and Pukke, which the Cape Town students won 39-33 in an absolute thriller in Potchefstroom, also on Monday evening, is the fact that the gap between the Universities and open clubs playing in the Cell C Community Cup has also widened considerably. With this in mind one would clearly prefer to see if the likes of Hamilton Sea Point RFC, Despatch, Jonsson College Rovers and SA Home Loans Durban Collegians could compete favourably against the top University sides.

Talking of Rovers, they were made to look very ordinary in their final Cell C Community Cup Pool 'B' match against the champion club side from the Griffons, Welkom Rovers, eventually scoring a four try bonus point 26-14 win. The KZN champions might have had a few key players away doing duty for the Cell C Sharks XV side in a Vodacom Cup game against Boland, but it should be no excuse for their below par performance in albeit unfavourable windy conditions. Certainly they will need to improve tenfold before travelling to do battle in George where they meet Old Selbornians from Border in the quarter-finals on 17 April.

Rovers tries came from centres Kobus Louwrens and Kyle Wilkinson, flying wing Jongi Nokwe, easily the touchdown of the match and utility back coming off the bench, Matt Phillips, with Jors Dannhauser converting three of the tries. Full marks must go to Welkom Rovers for making a game of it scoring two great tries of their own through lock Donavan Niewenhuyzen and flyhalf Petrus Strydom who also kicked two conversions.

The South Section Fidelity Security First Division kicked off last Saturday with Westville Old Boys getting off to the best possible start with an impressive 36-13 against Ballito Dolphins win while Richards Bay had a tough 20-11 away win against FNB UKZN Durban. Harlequins got off to a winning start edging out Fidelity Security Jaguars 24-20 in Sydenham and South Cost Warriors beat Hillcrest 17-0 in Port Shepstone.

In the North Section, 2013 champions Piet Retief were given a rude awakening going down 17-15 to their hosts Vryheid, which will go down as the first upset of the season.

In the Frank Norris Under 20 'A' Division, Rovers hammered UKZN Durban 103-0 and Nashua Crusaders got their campaign off to a good start with a 13-8 win over SA Home Loans Durban Collegians.

There will be a feast of club rugby with the Fidelity Security Premier Division kicking off this Saturday with all the games taking place on the outfields of Growthpoint KINGS PARK. 2013 Moor Cup champions College Rovers are faced with a heavy schedule over the next few weeks and are set to meet Thanda Zululand Rhinos on KP10 the home of Durban Collegians at 3.30pm with Varsity College facing Ricoh Maritzburg Collegians at 2pm in the early game. Across at KP 6 Durban Collegians face Crusaders at 2pm followed by newcomers Amanzimtoti who make their debut in the Premier Division against UKZN Maritzburg.

Jos Robson