Rovers and Crusaders Victorious

An enthusiastic crowd cheered Jonsson College Rovers and Telnet Crusaders through to the final of the Castle Murray Cup at Riverside after the pair saw off brave challenges from Durban Collegians and Thanda/ Waterstone Zululand Rhinos in their respective semi-finals on Friday evening. The Final will take place at Riverside on Saturday 25 August and a big crowd is expected with a full programme of finals rugby.

In the first semi-final, Collegians did very well to withstand early pressure from Rovers, managing to steal possession a few times, but finally lost the battle as they conceded a kickable penalty which put Rovers into the lead. That was short-lived as pressure on Rovers' own ball saw them penalised and Collegians drew level. The kickers traded another penalty each but a try to close out the first half and well-converted from out wide saw Rovers taking a 13-6 lead into the break.

An intercept try to Jors Danhauser who added the two saw Rovers into an unassailable lead which seemed to take the wind out of Collegians' sails and at 20-6 up, there was only one team in it. Further scores saw Rovers take the spoils, eventually running out 33-6 winners.

The second semi was a lively contest with some big performances from both teams, a match much closer than the first, ruined for the long distance visitors when they had two men sent to the sin bin towards the end of the first half for spear tackles, and down to 13 men, they simply could not withstand the pressure from Crusaders.

Rhinos were the first team to score after the game was deadlocked in the opening 10 minutes with the teams going hammer and tongs at each other, but Crusaders quickly converted a penalty of their own to level matters.

Rhinos then had a try disallowed for a forward pass but took the lead with an extremely well-struck penalty from exciting flyhalf Sello Sekhyala. But it was all to fall apart for them at this stage with the numbers disadvantage, Crusaders making the most of it with tries either side of the break to take them into a strong lead.

Rhinos tried valiantly and were rewarded with a try scored from close-quarter attack after Crusaders had conceded a number of penalties defending their 22. With 10 minutes to go and Crusaders leading by just four points, the game sparked into life with the result not yet determined.

However, time beat Rhinos to the reward and a late penalty saw Crusaders take a seven point lead going into injury time and they managed to hold out to take the game 20-13 and earn a place in next Saturday's final.

Michael Marnewick