Durban Collegians leave Maritzburg Varsity deservedly in the dust

2010-05-04 00:00

DURBAN Collegians were deserved winners in the Premier Division match against Maritzburg Varsity at Varsity on Saturday, although once the students had pulled back to within 12 points in the second half, few would have predicted a final scoreline of 58-18.

Trailing 30-18 and dominating for the first time in the match, Varsity’s questionable options while they were camping in the Collegians’ 22 for a long period undid all the promise. A side with Collegians’ attacking depth and range, and excellent goalkicking skills, can turn mistakes into seven-pointers in the blink of an eye, and Varsity paid dearly.

As the campus club’s head coach, Dylan Campbell, said before the match, Varsity were missing five first-choice players through injury and suspension, while Collegians were boosted by four discarded Sharks XV players, so it was always going to be tough.

However, there is no need for the students to get downhearted, despite losing four from four.

Varsity have played the top four sides in their first four games, three of which they could have won. Bear in mind, too, that they conceded an average 45 points per match last season, while scoring a paltry eight per game in winning two from 14 outings. The 2010 Varsity first XV are far better.

That said, Varsity have a massive challenge on their hands if they hope to come away with log points against Zululand in Empangeni on Friday night.

There are no easy games in this league, but cool heads and controlled rugby should see Varsity win more than they lose, and in Jono van Rensburg the students have a fine eighthman.

At the top of the log there is nothing — not even points difference — to separate Durban Collegians and champs College Rovers, while Crusaders are just a log point behind and still unbeaten.

Friday night’s match between home side ‘Saders and Rovers will be one to watch, as will be the clash between Zululand and PMB Varsity in Empangeni.

The key match in First Division South on Friday sees first-placed PMB Collegians (24 points from five matches) meet second-placed Amanzimtoti (20 points from five).

This should be a humdinger and no place for the weak-kneed.

South Coast lie third and, like Toti, they also have 20 points, although they have played one match more. Hillcrest, who have been struggling to hit their straps, are fourth with 15 points and Ballito fifth on 10 points.

The Elephants meet the equally winless Wentworth at 8 pm at Woodburn Stadium in the First Division South battle of the basement.

PMB Collegians were devastating in thumping the potentially awkward Ballito line-up 36-0 at Woodburn. Set moves worked, the pace of the wingers came to the fore and the tight five, with Justin Wendover again terrific, reigned supreme.

The Pietermaritzburg U20A side gave log-leaders Durban Collegians a terrific tussle at Varsity Stadium, and could well have pulled off a massive upset had the breaks gone their way.

As PMB head coach Steve Botha said: “Had there been official touch judges, two converted tries would not have been allowed, which would have given Maritzburg a 35-34 victory and a crucial five league points.”

Rangy PMB number eight Jason Fraser was arguably the player of the match and looks to be a fantastic prospect.

Last year, PMB (then called Midlands) came sixth; this year they’re also in sixth spot so far. And last year, College Rovers won the U20A Division by a massive 16 points from Old Boys, with third-placed Durban Collegians 23 points adrift.

This year, Collegians are a vastly different proposition with five points clear of Rovers with four matches left.

FIXTURES

Thursday – U20A: Crusaders vs College Rovers; Jaguars vs Old Boys.

Friday - Premier Division: Durban Collegians vs Harlequins; Crusaders vs College Rovers; Jaguars vs Old Boys; Zululand vs Maritzburg Varsity. First Division South: Hillcrest vs Durban Varsity; PMB Collegians vs Amanzimtoti (Woodburn Stadium 6.30 pm); PMB Elephants vs Wentworth (Woodburn Stadium 8 pm). U20A: D Coll vs Quins; Empangeni vs Pietermaritzburg. U20B: Amanzimtoti A vs Pietermaritzburg B. U20C: Pietermaritzburg C vs Ogwini Bafana A (7 pm Woodburn 3); Empangeni B vs Maritzburg Varsity A.

Saturday – First Div South: Ballito vs Kokstad.

RESULTS

Prem Div: Rovers 57 Jags 15; Quins 14 Saders 37; PMB Varsity 18 DBN Collegians 58; Old Boys 14 Zululand 16. Reserves: Rovers 101 Jags 0; Quins 34 Saders 38; PMB Varsity 12 DBN Collegians 15; Old Boys 14 Zululand 7. First Div South: South Coast 12 Hillcrest 12; PMB Collegians 36 Ballito 0; Kokstad 25 D Var 31; Wentworth vs Toti (postponed). Reserves: PMB Collegians 49 Ballito 0. U20A: Pietermaritzburg 35 Durban Collegians 48; Rovers 108 Jags 3; Quins vs Saders (postponed); Old Boys 28 Empangeni 27. U20B: Pietermaritzburg 10 Durban Collegians 24. U20C: PMB Varsity A 3 Pietermaritzburg C 53.

KZN PREMIER DIVISION LOG

(All played four; points difference, points): 1 College Rovers 95PD, 19 pts and Durban Collegians 95PD, 19 pts; 3 Crusaders 66PD, 18 pts; 4 Old Boys 11PD, 10 pts; 5 Zululand –30PD, 6pts; 6 Harlequins –50GD, 5 pts; 7 PMB Varsity –56GD, 3 pts; 8 Jaguars –133GD, 0 pts.

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