Close loss points to better season for Varsity

2010-04-21 00:00

IN KwaZulu-Natal Premier Division club rugby action over the weekend, PMB Varsity lost 32-23 to champions College Rovers in a tempestuous match in Durban.

The match got heated as Varsity have a number of players who represented Rovers last season, but the students can take satisfaction from such a narrow loss, which suggests this season is going to be a whole lot better than last year’s.

Varsity were desperately unlucky. Too much respect saw Rovers race to a 24-0 lead after the first quarter. Thereafter, Varsity dominated and a 14-point turnaround cost them dearly, while another tactical error definitely cost them the bonus point.

For Varsity, halfbacks Rory Bremner and Peter Grunow, flank Shaq Tshabalala, loosehead Kurt Schonert, and hooker and captain Justin Meanwell were in outstanding form.

In KZN First Division South, Maritzburg Collegians broke a three-year drought against Hillcrest with a meritorious 19-5 victory at the villagers’ stronghold down the N3.

This win puts Collegians firmly on the map as far as challenging for the title this season is concerned. It will also put a smile on the faces of loyal sponsors Gestetner Midlands, who have supported the red, black and whites through thick and thin since their association started with the 100-plus years old KZN capital institution.

“It was a fantastic win,” said Collegians coach Rinier Bosman. “Our preparation was spot-on, no stone was left unturned and the hunger for victory was plain to see.”

Collegians have genuine depth this year and the 22 players complemented each other against what was considered an “arrogant” Hillcrest team.

Hillcrest spurned penalty-goal opportunities, preferring to kick for attacking lineouts, while 14-point Collegians fullback Kirsten Jones had a shot at goal at every opportunity.

Captain and hooker Charl Bezuidenhout was Collegians’ star, while loosehead Blake Kyd and new flanker Bobby Warnock were not far behind.

Maritzburg Under-20A went down heavily to champs College Rovers, but the scoreline was not a true reflection.

Tomorrow, PMB U20A meet Crusaders at 7.30 pm at Crusaders’ club in Ranleigh Crescent, Durban North.

On Friday, the PMB derby between high-riding Collegians and the winless Elephants kicks off at 8 pm at Woodburn Stadium.

The derby always sees underdogs the Elephants raise their game. They have drawn strong sides in their opening matches and remain winless.

Also on Friday, in KZN Premier Division action, PMB Varsity travel to Crusaders for their clash at 8 pm on the club’s main field.

Varsity, too, have been dealt a tough draw. But this baptism of fire, which they have faced with such honour, means their first win will taste that much sweeter.

Match dates to pencil into your diaries: Maritzburg Varsity return to the Varsity Stadium on May 1, when they meet Durban Collegians at 3.30 pm, while PMB Collegians meet the Ballito Dolphins at Woodburn at the same time. In U20A Division on Saturday, May 1, Pietermaritzburg tackle Durban Collegians at 12.30 pm.

RESULTS

Prem Div: College Rovers 32 PMB Varsity 25; Old Boys 27 Harlequins 11; DBN Collegians 44 Jaguars 21; Crusaders 13 Zululand Rhinos 10. Reserves: Rovers 18 PMB Varsity 10; Old Boys 39 Harlequins 0; DBN Collegians 68 Jaguars 0; Crusaders 34 Zululand 30. First Div South: PMB Collegians 19 Hillcrest 5; DBN Varsity 7 Amanzimtoti 50; South Coast Warriors 36 PMB Elephants 12. Reserves: PMB Collegians 8 Hillcrest 34; DBN Varsity 10 Amanzimtoti 39; South Coast 38 PMB Elephants 10. U20A: College Rovers 46 Pietermaritzburg 3; DBN Collegians 88 Jaguars 12; Old Boys 32 Harlequins 14; Empangeni 75 Crusaders 5. U20B: Rovers 29 Pietermaritzburg 3; Old Boys 66 Harlequins 0; DBN Collegians 77 South Coast 6. U20C: Hillcrest 42 PMB Varsity 10.

FIXTURES

Thursday – U20A: Jaguars vs Quins; Crusaders vs Pietermaritzburg (7.30 pm).

Friday – Prem Div (8 pm): Durban Collegians vs Old Boys; Crusaders vs Maritzburg Varsity; Jaguars vs Harlequins; Zululand vs College Rovers (8.30pm). Reserves 6.30 pm. First Division South (8 pm): PMB Elephants vs PMB Collegians (Woodburn Stadium); South Coast vs Wentworth; Ballito vs Hillcrest. Reserves 6.30 pm. U20A Div: Durban Collegians vs Old Boys; Empangeni vs College Rovers (8.30 pm). U20C: PMB Collegians A vs Old Boys C (7 pm Woodburn 2); Empangeni B vs Hillcrest A; Wentworth vs Maritzburg Varsity A.

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