With the new sponsors Fidelity Security Services now firmly on board with KZNRU Club Rugby the newly sponsored Premier Division league got off to a wet but cracking start last Saturday with 2010 Moor Cup and National Club champions Jonsson College Rovers opening their 2011 campaign on a winning note beating their hosts FNB UKZN Pietermaritzburg 21-5 at the Peter Booysen Stadium in the capital.
Clearly the inclement weather conditions, which didn’t make for good quality running rugby, suited the Rovers forwards on the day as they powered their way to an unattractive, but well-earned victory. The game was understandably riddled with handling errors in the trying conditions, which didn’t help the cause.
Rovers nevertheless did show that they will be a force to be reckoned with once again, while the students themselves are likely to be a handful to the more fancied clubs as well, particularly on their home grounds. Certainly the inaugural Varsity Shield competition has helped their cause and with a lot more depth at their disposal this year they look to be a lot more competitive.
Rovers' two tries came from prop Roy Godfrey and scrumhalf Shannon Rick with fullback Chris Mickelwood kicking the balance. Varsity’s player of the Shield competition Jaco Potgieter, replied with a try for the hosts.
In another game, Acer Durban Collegians signaled a strong warning in their runaway 68-3 win over Fidelity Security Jaguars with their flying wing Quinton Dormehl crossing for four touchdowns. Certainly Collegians looked a lot more together and composed after losing two of their pre-season friendly games against Bluff Superspar Harlequins and Hamilton. They couldn’t have wished for a better start.
In the two other games, Goss and Balfe Crusaders had the best possible start to their season as well beating Thanda ZRA Zululand Rhinos 14-8 at Mick Kelly Park in Empangeni while out on the Bluff, the home side Bluff Superspar Harlequins beat their visitors from Durban North Varsity College Old Boys 18-14 giving every indication that this could well be one of the more closely-contested leagues in the history of the club game in KZN.
In the Under 20 ‘A’ Division Frank Norris Trophy, holders Durban Collegians' game against their hosts, neighbours, Rovers had to be postponed because of a flooded field while ‘Saders’ picked up a valuable win against their hosts ‘Oldies’ and Empangeni traveled to the capital and went on the rampage against Pietermaritzburg beating their hosts 79-3.
Hillcrest and Ricoh Maritzburg Collegians remain the only two unbeaten sides in the First Division league and they look destined for a big showdown on 6 May.
- Jos Robson