Wednesday Club Column
The Fidelity Security Club Rugby day launching the start of the 2014 Premier Division season, with all eight clubs converging on Growthpoint KINGS PARK, was a huge success with the spirit of the club game shining through on a special day of rugby camaraderie at its very best with First Division clubs also adding to the festivities. After each game a player of the match was named by all the participating teams making for an even more exciting afternoon of club rugby.
It was a day too that introduced Amanzimtoti who are making their debut in the Fidelity Security Premier Division and they couldn't have wished for a better start into the big league, comprehensively beating a badly depleted FNB UKZN Maritzburg side 32-7. The students, just back from an arduous three weeks of Varsity Shield rugby, rested the bulk of the players that played in what was a tough competition for them. But take nothing away from the South Coast Terriers, they had something to prove and that was to tell the rest of the Premier Division sides that are not going to be a simple push-over and that they certainly did in fine style, securing a four try bonus point victory for good measure.
The lads from the South Coast opened with a sensational try by fullback Hansie Graaff running from deep in his own half weaving through the defence and touching down near the poles for flyhalf Jaco de Jager to convert. That laid the foundation for what was a truly great display of quality rugby by Jeff Harper's charges and the result has certainly made the regular and more favoured clubs stand back and take notice, for there really is now another competitive side in the club mix, which is going to be so good for the game and the league.
Toti's other tries came from prop Tyrone Trembath, skipper and hooker Kevin Buck and lock Pieter Harmse, with flyhalf Jaco de Jager slotting two penalties and three conversions. Toti named wing Sheldon Higgo Man of the match while Dave Harel was chosen for the Maritzburg students.
Jonsson College Rovers, with eight straight Moor Cup titles under their belt and current champions, together with SA Home Loans Durban Collegians - still the most successful club in the history of the KZNRU - both took huge gambles going into the first round of the competition. Rovers fielding their second stringers in order to save players for the Cell C Community Cup play offs in George over the Easter Weekend hammered Thanda Zululand Rhinos 50-10. Playing with 13 players with Community Cup experience, Rovers simply looked too good for the side from Empangeni, crossing for eight tries with centre Jake Adam with two touchdowns leading the charge with the other tries going to Jason Kankowski, No 8 Louis Hazelhurst, hooker Chris Kemp, prop Tod Trytsman scrumhalf Andreas Molnar and centre Matt Phillips.
The side from Zululand clearly have a lot of soul searching to do before they tackle Durban Collegians on Thursday evening 24 April on their home grounds at Mick Kelley Park in Empangeni. Rovers named scrumhalf Andreas Molnar their Man of the Match and Rhinos nominated flyhalf Jaco Campher.
Durban Collegians went into their game without six of their regulars, taking an even bigger gamble than Rovers as they were up against a much harder opposition in Nashua Crusaders. Even though their decision was based on one of a more disciplinary nature for all the right reasons, there was huge concern from their most ardent supporters. However in typical Collegians blood and guts fashion, they came good in the last 10 minutes, scoring three sensational tries to eventually walk away with a four try bonus point 26-3 victory after only leading 5-3 for most of the game. Their tries were scored by Dylan Aylward, Kyle Hartley, Keelin Bastew and Brendon Groenewald who was named their Player of the Match with Luke Fouche kicking three conversions. Saders named Alex Curry their Man of the Match.
In the remaining game, Varsity College who had Dewet Botha named their Man of the Match beat Motswako Maritzburg Collegians 31-10 with Warren Dixon the losers' Man of the Match
In the First Division South Section, South Coast Warriors thumped Jaguars 48-19 and Harlequins beat Westville Old Boys 28-19 while in the Under 20 ‘A’ Division, 2013 Frank Norris Trophy winners Varsity College were edged out 20-19 and College Rovers beat South Coast Warriors 26-10. In the North Section Piet Retief beat Pongola 12-7 and Newcastle Highlanders beat Sentraal 40-20.
Rovers travel to George this weekend to play in the final rounds of the Community Cup and meet Old Selborneans on Thursday 17 April with all games being aired on SuperSport. The rest of the local clubs will take a break this weekend.