Wednesday Club Column

As the big showdown between perennial front-runners - SA Home Loans Durban Collegians and Jonsson College Rovers - at the half way stage of the Fidelity Security Premier Division club competition looms this Friday evening at 8pm on KP 3, itís interesting to note that both sides have suffered the same fate against Varsity College in as much that they were both made to work hard for their respective league points.

Rovers came out better than Collegians, managing to pick up a valuable extra league point after scoring a four try bonus point win this last weekend, beating the Riverside-based club 27-8. There can be no doubt that they had to dig deep in the second half after trailing 8-0 at the break. With a decidedly stronger bench, Rovers came back after looking almost dead and buried to eventually take the honours.

Particularly with the return of Jors Dannhauser, a truly gifted footballer coming off the bench, they picked up momentum that saw scrumhalf Shannon Rick cross for two of their four tries with prop Matt Jones and centre Quinton Crocker crossing for the others with Jeandre Small kicking the balance. It certainly wasnít pretty and with Varsity College having had a player red carded and anther sent off with a yellow, it didnít help their cause. But having said that, they can hold their heads high for nearly upsetting the applecart a second time.

Durban Collegians too had a close shave against Varsity College, scraping home 8-7 in what must have been their worst of games this season. Fortunately, they have gone from strength to strength since then and their 49-10 win over FNB UKZN Impi last Saturday, although not as polished as they would have liked, did give an indication of just how good they are as they prepare to meet their long time foes who have dominated proceedings in the competition for the last eight years. Certainly they would dearly like to put an end to Rovers' reign of dominance in the league and once again recapture the priceless piece of silverware - the oldest trophy in World Rugby The Moor Cup - which they have won more times than any other club in the province.

Collegians scored their points through tries by Gareth Reece-Edwards who crossed for two, Sean Robinson, Steve Crause, Alcino Isaacs, Brendan Groenewald and Feri Horn with Duncan Campbell kicking seven conversions.

Nashua Crusaders, who had the weekend off with Thanda Zululand Rhinos asking for a postponement, are also very much in the mix for top honours and as we get to the halfway mark of the competition this weekend. It will be interesting to see how the race for the title pans out in the second round. Saders travel down the South Coast this weekend to face Amanzimtoti who must be bitterly disappointed with their latest result in going down 21-17 at Woodburn in the capital in a game they were expecting to win.

In the First Division, Richards Bay lifted a few eyebrows thumping Harlequins 56-24 and so finding themselves on the top of the log last Saturday. In the other games South Coast Warriors had a good away win beating UKZN Durban 24-9, while Westville Old Boys beat Jaguars 24-14 and Hillcrest accounted for Ballito Dolphins 38-0.

Rovers and Durban Collegians went through to the semi-finals to face Crusaders and Varsity College respectively after Rovers beat South Coast Warriors 39-12 and Collegians accounted for UKZN Durban. Collegians and Rovers will travel across the Umgeni to meet Varsity College and Saders respectively with both games kicking off at 6.30 pm.

Jos Robson