Collegians Edge Varsity College in Nail-biting Finish

A superb 75th minute penalty from Collegians flyhalf, Duncan Campbell, gave SA Home Loans Durban Collegians a 31-28 victory over Varsity College RFC at Riverside. In what can only be described as a tense final period with both teams locked on 28 points, the Collegians flyhalf coolly slotted home the late penalty in the rain to hand his team a crucial bonus-point victory.

It was a cruel defeat for the Riverside outfit but they will surely take confidence from their display. The match was always going to be a tightly-contested affair following both teams impressive starts to the season and the very difficult conditions that greeted players and fans.

Varsity College scored an early penalty from Kurt Mavrodaris but that was cancelled out by a try from Collegians lock Brendon Groenewald to give them a 7-3 lead. Two further penalties from Mavrodaris gave Varsity College a 13-7 half-time lead. There was no letting up from either side's forwards in the testing conditions. Collegians scored another three tries in the second half courtesy of Carl Marks (2) and a second from Groenewald.

Varsity responded with two tries of their own in the second half to keep the game alive via a superb solo effort from utility back Kotara Matshuima and Takudzwa Cheiza. Eventually the pressure told on Varsity College as the match-winning penalty was scored late on.

A delighted Robin Swanepoel praised the courage of his team and their resilience to claim maximum points, saying afterwards: "Considering the difficult circumstances, I would grab the five points any day. Our discipline is still an issue and it's something that I will be dealing with."

Opposing coach, Sam Vermaak, was gracious in defeat. He said: "I am very proud of my boys. This is a young squad and we can take heart from the gutsy display. Rugby was the winner at the end of the day and it is a pity there was a loser. Congratulations to our opponents."

Elsewhere, Marshall Security Crusaders scored a well deserved 38-10 victory over Ricoh/Motswako Pmb Collegians. The win will come as a welcome relief to the Durban North outfit that have put in some gutsy displays so far this season.

The defending champions Jonsson College Rovers maintained their impressive unbeaten start to the season with a convincing 58-10 victory over Oxford Wentworth Harlequins and in the re-arranged game the UKZN Impi picked up more valuable log points when they defeated the Zululand Rhinos 27-8. The victory heaps more pressure on the Empangeni team.

-Ismail Adam