Crusaders take on Rovers in the Castle Murray Cup Final

All eyes will be firmly fixed on the Riverside Sports Complex this Saturday (15.30 kick-off) as Telnet Crusaders do battle with Jonsson College Rovers for the Castle Murray Cup. The oldest club rugby knock-out competition, more than a century old, takes centre stage this weekend. Rovers are the defending champions and by adding the trophy to their cabinet will be hoping to emulate another double success which would give them four tournament wins in a row. They are the overwhelming favourites but as we know in rugby there is no such thing as a certainty.

Crusaders head coach Loedewyk Riekert is calling on everyone who has been involved with the club to show their support this Saturday and make it as difficult as possible for Rovers. "Everyone is looking forward to the final and we should embrace it," he said. "The entire Crusaders community should come together and support the club. It would be great if we could win the final. We have to believe we can do it." Riekert also warned that his players will be competitive and are not just content to be easy pickings for their opponents.

With Robert du Preez still away in Italy, all coaching aspects at College Rovers have been left in the reliable hands of assistant, Johnno Brailey. Having had success in the Murray Cup before with Rovers, Brailey is no stranger to the task that lies ahead. Brailey said that nothing can be taken for granted and reminded everyone that it is always a glorious opportunity to win this great competition. "We will be putting our best foot forward," he said. "We have not paid any attention to all this talk of the final being one-sided. The preparations have gone well, there will be no complacency and we are hoping to win." He also added that Robert du Preez has been keeping abreast of things and his heart was with the team.

The KZNRU appreciates the support and involvement of the public and S.A. Breweries, who through their Castle brand, have assisted in taking the Murray Cup up a level or two. Amateur club rugby desperately needed this support which can only benefit the game.

With the curtain coming down on club rugby on the local front, some players will however still be involved on another level, with the two SARU inter-provincial amateur tournaments that are scheduled to take place during the first week of September. There is the Amateur Provincial Competition for central provinces in which a KZN Duikers team and a KZN Platteland team will be competing. The Duikers are the current holders of this trophy having won it in Kimberly last year. They will be going all out to defend their title in Newcastle this year under the astute leadership of Carel Nel.

The other SARU tournament - also to be hosted by the KZNRU in conjunction with the Sub Union- is the south section inter-provincial for teams compromising of non Premier League players. The KZN Wildebeest XV, who were beaten finalists in Saldanha last year, will be hoping to go one step further this time in Margate. Eight teams participate in each tournament and matches are played on the 3 Sept (Monday), 5 Sept (Wed) with the finals on the Friday of 7September. Rugby followers in those areas should watch local press for further details.

Incidentally, Jonsson College Rovers will be in action a week later in Rustenburg for the National Club Championships and we all wish them every success there.

Ismail Adam