Round Two Moor Cup Wrap

Jonnson College Rovers crashed to their first league defeat in three years as they were beaten 21-15 by Nashua Durban Crusaders in the Fidelity Security Moor Cup on Saturday. Substitute Byron van der Nest was the hero for Crusaders scoring the winning try on the stroke of full time which sparked scenes of jubilation amongst the Durban North crowd.

Elsewhere, SA Home Loans Durban Collegians romped to a comfortable 62-3 victory over the Zululand Rhinos in Empangeni. The bonus point victory sees Collegians take a maximum haul of 10 points from their opening two fixtures to sit joint top of the league which is still in its infancy stage with two rounds played.

On Thursday evening, Moor Cup newcomers, Amanzimtoti continued their impressive start to the season as they defeated Varsity College 27-17 to make it two wins in a row. They scored four tries in total as their captain, Louis Joubert claimed a brace with Matt McDonald and Kyle Lubbe also getting on the scoresheet. The bonus point victory takes the South Coast outfit to joint top with Collegians. The other Thursday night game saw Pmb Collegians edge UKZN Impi 16-10 in the Maritzburg derby at Woodburn.

But the main talking point of the round will be the nail-biting encounter that saw Rovers suffer a rare league defeat. Crusaders got off to a flyer, scoring in the opening minute as their winger Troy Chiochetti blitzed his way past the Rovers defence. It was 14-0 within ten minutes as the speedy winger grabbed his second of the match. Rovers gradually fought their way back into the match but were met with strong resistance from an impressive Crusaders defence.

There was controversy during the midway point of the first half when the referee cancelled out what looked like a legitimate Rovers try. He deemed that there was interference with the linesman, who was retreating back to the line after clearing up an on field altercation. The Durban North outfit put in a spirited first half performance to lead 14-5 at half time.

The second half saw Rovers dominate possession and former Sharks winger Dusty Noble claimed two tries to inspire a rousing second half comeback from them. A superb 35m penalty from Rover's fullback Jeandre Small gave them a narrow 15-14 lead heading into the last quarter of the game, however there was more drama to follow. Two yellow cards issued to Rovers in the final ten minutes saw the game turn on its head. Just as Rovers thought they had done enough to claim the points, Crusaders produced a stunning 30m lineout drive on the stroke of full-time to claim the famous win.

A teary eyed Ronnie Uys, Crusaders head coach, said that this was one of his best moments of his career and his team deserved the victory. "Absolutely brilliant and what a proud moment for my team," said Uys. "We worked hard and defended superbly. We just kept the belief at half time and even when we went behind for the first time in the match with 20minutes to go. It was nerve wrecking but we going to savour this victory."

Rovers head coach, Brian Bateman, was gracious in defeat.

He said: "Credit must be given to them for a spirited performance and they showed good determination. We are disappointed to lose because I felt in the second half my boys showed character to fight back. The two yellow cards were a huge factor against us in the final minutes but I am confident we will bounce back."

Ismail Adam