Wednesday Club Column
SA Home Loans Durban Collegians maintained their unbeaten record in the Fidelity Security Premier Division club rugby league with yet another convincing win when they beat Thanda Zululand Rhinos 46-7 on their home grounds at KP 10 last Friday evening, so remaining on top of the log table with a five point cushion. They will however be astutely aware of Jonsson College Rovers hot on their heels, especially after the 2013 champions' impressive showing against Nashua Crusaders, convincingly beating their hosts from Durban North 42-0, complete with two of their Cell C Sharks players - Kyle Cooper and Keegan Daniel - in what was described as their finest performance of the season thus far.
In a game of two halves, Collegians, who only had Francois Kleynhans from the contracted Sharks set-up on board, started off well enough against Rhinos but just weren’t finishing off very well with a number of forward passes letting them down badly in the opening stages of the game. Down 7-3 deep into the first half after a superb try by the Zululand centre Thulani Mduli, the log-leaders did manage to at least go into the break 15-7 to the good over their visitors. The second half belonged to Collegians as they stepped up the pace, running in another five unanswered tries with their tries going to Andrew Holland (2), Gary Collins, Doug Warden, Kurt Schonert and Calvin Sacks who also slotted a penalty and three conversions.
Across at College Rovers on KP3, the home side put up a fine display of entertaining and enterprising rugby, crossing for six tries. By far their best game of the season thus far, Rovers showed real class and with Sharks players Daniel and Cooper in harness, Crusaders just had no answer to the onslaught. Rovers led 23-0 at the break with their tries going to former Springbok wing Jongi Nokwe, Simba Bwanaya, former Bok sevens player Dusty Noble, Chris Cloete, Quinton Crocker and Cooper. Fullback Jors Dannhauser kicked three conversions and two conversions to conclude the scoring.
Up in Pietermaritzburg, hosts FNB UKZN Impi were comfortably beaten 36-19 by Ricoh Maritzburg Collegians. The visitors had Sharks prop Wiehan Herbst and another member of the talented Noble clan, Howard, in the their starting line-up, both adding value to a fast improving Maritzburg Collegians' outfit.
In the remaining game, Varsity College, with Sharks stalwart Jacques Botes in their squad, eked out a hard-fought 13-10 win over Amanzimtoti in a game that could have gone either way. With most of the club sides getting additional Sharks on Friday evening, there should be great interest in the next round. Certainly Maritzburg Collegians who host Rovers will be quite a handful with Jaco van Tonder and Dale Chadwick being added to the team list against their former team-mates.
The clash between Durban Collegians and Varsity College should also be interesting while Toti host Rhinos and Crusaders will be at home to UKZN Impi.
In the First Division South Section there is an almighty battle going on for top honours, with South Coast Warriors holding on to top spot after they squeaked home 20-19 against Jaguars on their home grounds in Port Sherpstone. Richards Bay are still in the hunt after their big 50-10 victory over Ballito Dolphins who are propping up the bottom of the log. UKZN Durban had a great 29-19 away win over Hillcrest at Shongweni while Harlequins played Westville Old Boys last night out on the Bluff.
In the North Section, Newcastle Highlanders, Vryheid and 2013 champions Piet Retief are fighting it out for ultimate glory.
Rovers still lead the way in the Third Division and are now a step closer to recapturing the Walker Cup after beating Crusaders 29-17, while their closest rivals Pinetown were beaten 17-11 by Queenburgh. Varsity College seem to be on track to reclaim the Frank Norris Under 20 Trophy after Rovers, who won the Basil Medway Under 20 ‘A’ knockout competition against them, could only manage a lucky 19-19 draw against South Coast Warriors.