Collegians give Varsity a run

2011-08-17 00:00

THE Peter Booysen Sports Park was no place for the faint-hearted at the weekend as Maritzburg Varsity and PMB Collegians fought hammer and tongs for the magnificent York and Lancaster Cup to determine the champion club rugby team in the KZN capital.

The setting was perfect for the encounter, with the university rugby club celebrating the 100th year of its existence with a sumptuous centenary banquet that drew over 700 alumni from all parts of the world on the same night. Such was the commitment and passion shown by both sides it was a pity there had to be a winner, but a late try clinched the match for the campus outfit to the tune of 20-16, after Collegians had gone into the last quarter with a 16-15 lead.

Yes, KZN Premier Division Varsity did score four tries to one, and on another night might have had more points if their place-kicking boots had been on, but KZN First Division champions Collegians played smart rugby and came within a few minutes of pulling off a memorable victory.

What the result did underline for the men in red, black and white was their ability to compete with KZN Premier Division team, the first indication of which was given in their drubbing of Jaguars by 30-odd points in the Murray Cup first round the week before.

As gutted as they were by the defeat to Varsity, Collegians have another opportunity to establish their Premier Division credentials when they travel to Mick Kelley Park in Empangeni to meet Zululand Rhinos in the Murray Cup quarter-finals Saturday. After the Murray Cup competition is over and the SA Junior Clubs tournament in Saldanha Bay, where Collegians make up half of the KZN Wildebeest side, has ended, the Collegians lads will take on Jaguars once again. This time they will play on the former development club’s home turf in Sydenham for promotion to the Premier Division, so there is still much to play for for the Boshoff Street club.

Both sides showed good continuity and solid defence, but where Collegians erred against Varsity was in their naivety in trying to run out of defence when judicious use of the boot would have been the wiser option. Collegians’ halfback combination, Brendon Fourie and flyhalf Conal Levin, were absolutely outstanding, while the Varsity players who caught the eye were the loose trio, hooker and captain Justin Meanwell, as well as fullback Wessel Booysen.

Varsity meet Durban Collegians at 3.30  pm on Saturday at Peter Booysen Sports Park in their Murray Cup quarter-final and the campus side have absolutely nothing to lose.

FIXTURES:

Murray Cup quarter-finals (home teams first, 3.30 pm): Zululand vs PMB Collegians, Old Boys vs Newcastle; PMB Varsity vs Durban Collegians; Crusaders vs Rovers.

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