Wednesday Club Column
There was much intrigue in the air last week in club rugby circles and with all eyes focused on the build up to the all-important Fidelity Security Premier Division game between home side Amanzimtoti and their visitors log leaders SA Home Loans Durban Collegians, it was great to a lot of supporters around town who were expecting some sort of an upset.
To the contrary, Durban Collegians took another mighty step forward to ultimate glory and are looking like champions of old after beating the South Coast Terriers handsomely 31-0 and so keeping their six point cushion ahead of their neighbours and closest rivals Jonsson College Rovers on the log table.
Collegians have unquestionably been the most consistent side in the league this year and last Friday they once again showed that desire of really wanting to take the title and reclaim the oldest piece of silverware in World Rugby, the priceless, coveted 141 year old Moor Cup, which they have in fact won more times than any other club in the province.
Scoring five tries without reply through fullback Calvin Sacks, flank Dylan Nel, wing Kyle Hartley who is now the top try scorer in the league, Sharks centre Heimar Williams and No 8 Francois Kleinhans, Collegians were simply too good for the brave Toti side. As always, their bench was the decisive factor and the key to their impressive victory. Flyhalf Duncan Campbell concluded the scoring with three conversions.
Meanwhile, with FNB UKZN Impi calling for a postponement against Rovers, it certainly didn't help the 2013 champions' cause. They have had a stranglehold on the competition for the last eight years and leaving them without game time last weekend could seriously put them further back on points for and against. In hindsight, a break from the limelight could well do the the 115 year old club more good than harm. Certainly with the pressure off them now they can surely relax and enjoy themselves playing the game they know best - expansive and entertaining rugby,
There was something of a massacre at Growthpoint KINGS PARK in the curtain-raiser to the Super Rugby knockout game between the visiting Highlanders and the Cell C Sharks, when Varsity College ran riot, thumping the luckless Thanda Zululand Rhinos 90-8, with wing Michael Cloete crossing for three touchdowns. Also on the score sheet were Lex Botha (2), Andre Esterhuizen, fullback Rowan Howse and scrumhalf Ashton du Plessis.
This Saturday sees Durban Collegians up against UKZN Impi while Rovers, with a far more difficult run-in to the final two rounds, with their game this weekend against an exuberant and buoyant Varsity College outfit after two excellent results in their last two outings, will have all to play for.
In the remaining game, Nashua Crusaders eeked out a hard-fought 18-13 victory at Woodburn in the capital against Ricoh Maritzburg Collegians, with the Durban North based side possibly a little dissapointed with their last few outings. Meanwhile, in the Premier Division Reserve league, Rovers remain the only unbeaten side in that competition, giving a solid indication that the club is nevertheless blessed with quality depth.
There looks to be an intriguing finish to the First Division South Section with Fidelity Security South Coast Warriors now looking like odds-on favourites to take the title after their runaway 48-10 win over Westville Old Boys. Richards Bay were given a rude awakening by Land Rover Durban Hillcrest out at Shongweni on Saturday with the Villagers beating them 31-24. In fact Hillcrest have made a late surge having caused quite a stir with their sudden resurgence in their last few outings. It's just such a pity they left it so late. UKZN Durban have also left their best for last this time, beating Jaguars 33-25 and making it four wins in a row for them. So with such a tight finish to the First Division season it has made the competition that much more entertaining and interesting.
The First Division North Section has also finished with a flourish with Newcastle Highlanders edging out Piet Retief 27-25 in their semi-final match and look set to face Vryheid to see who takes the title and who will meet the winners of the South Section and become the 2014 recipient of arguably the most beautiful piece of silverware in the KZNRU trophy cabinet, the 110 year old Dewar Shield.
The Third Division is also going to the wire with Rovers looking set to reclaim the Walker Cup while the Frank Norris Under 20 A competition resumes after the July recess and here Varsity College remain favourites to retain the title after Rovers, against all odds, won the Basil Medway Knockout competition.