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Wednesday Column

Jonsson College Rovers retained the KZNRU Club Rugby double after winning the House of Paint Premier Division league and the Castle Murray Cup knockout competition, which by all accounts was the finest ever staged with accolades going to the sponsors and Goss and Balfe Crusaders for hosting the semi-finals and final with such success. Rovers have been hard at work preparing for the SAA National Club Champs.

The tournament originally known as the Olympic Toyota Easter Club Rugby Championships was launched way back in 1975 with the then Olympic Toyota the first official sponsors of what was to become one of the most popular events on the South African Rugby Union’s calendar.

From a local perspective, Acer Durban Collegians found their way into the final going down 28-22 to Stellenbosch University at the inaugural tournament and a year later won the plate competition beating Old Hararians from Zimbabwe 13-9. The other local clubs that have participated in what became known as the most prestigious club competition in the country are Glenwood Old Boys, Durban Varsity, Gestetner Maritzburg Collegians, DHS Old Boys and of course Crusaders who remain to this day the only club from KZN to have won the tournament-and they did it twice.

Rovers who have won through to the final on two occasions are ranked third in this year’s competition being hosted once again by the mighty ‘Maties’ of Stellenbosch University who themselves have won the tournament on more occasions than any other club.

Rovers will open their 2010 campaign against Bethlehem Oud-Skoliera from the Griffons who will be making their debut at the tournament at 11.45 on the ‘B’ Field in the second game of the opening day on Saturday.

Sadly for Rovers, they once again might struggle having lost a number of key players in the build up to the tournament but they will give it their all that is for certain. They will be up against some formidable opposition when one considers that all the major universities will be contesting for the silverware. Hosts Maties once again representing Western Province will be joined by Blue Bulls club champions Tukkies from Pretoria, Pukke from Potchefstroom doing duty for the Leopards, University of Johannesburg flying the Golden Lions flag and Shimlas representing the Cheetahs from Bloemfontein.

The other clubs joining Rovers and the Bethlehem side to face the onslaught of these great rugby institutions at the home of the Maties include Springs the Falcons champion club, Mossel Bay Barbarians from South Western Districts, East London Police league winners from Border, Roses from Boland, Noordelike winners of the Limpopo Bulls club rugby league, Middleburg representing the Pumas, Griquas champions Kimberley Police and either Parks or Progress doing duty for Eastern Province.

So there is all to play for and under the new rules 2009 champions Hamilton Sea Point Rugby Club will also be there to defend their title. The KZNRU Club Rugby fraternity can now wish Rovers well after one of their best local seasons in years having not lost a game all year as they prepare to proudly represent their union once again.

The final curtain came down on the KZNRU Club Rugby season with Richards Bay beating Kapaailand from Maclear 32-3 in the final of the Findlay Cup Third Division knockout competition played in Port Shepstone at the home of South Coast Warriors

The Duikers beat KZN Country Districts 48-21 at Mick Kelly Park in Empangeni. After trailing 21-15 at the break the Duikers bounced back in the second half with 33 unanswered points with Kobus de Kok scoring two tries and adding four conversions. The other tries came from Kyle Hartley, Scott Brown, Brian Shabangu, skipper Jonno Coetzee and Carl Marx with Jacques Venter kicking the balance.

Country Districts replied with tries from Gareth Borchard and Louis Nondela with Francois Bodenstein kicking the rest.