Maritzburg Varsity’s run of bad luck continues

2010-05-19 00:00

THERE appears no end to Maritzburg Varsity’s bad luck in the KZN Premier Division, as they lost for the fifth time in six games by a points margin of seven or less.

A missed Varsity penalty at the death points to the most obvious reason why they lost 13-12 at Harlequins. The coastal weather did not play ball, and the favoured Quins pack — their primary weapon — rumbled just enough for the home side to squeak home.

Varsity led 12-10 until five minutes before the final whistle when Quins went one ahead.

The injury-stricken students are attractive, but their finishing has seen a host of tries wasted throughout the season, leaving so many “would have, could have, should have” moments.

Meanwhile, College Rovers earned a crucial 17-1­6 win at the top against closest rivals Durban Collegians in a weekend of tight matches.

PMB Collegians now comfortably top First Division South, but their 97-0 win at Wentworth — a match brought to an end with 20 minutes to spare — left a sour taste.

Chairperson Tony Day said that, among other things, the fields were not marked; the change room lock had to be broken to get in; there were no lights, which saw him strapping players up in the gloom on a dark day in Durban; Wentworth, between their first and second team, only had enough players for one team, and they were told to shower at a nearby school.

It is surely of great concern to the KZN Rugby Union that some of the top “development” clubs, for want of a better word — Jaguars, Wentworth and Pietermaritzburg’s Young Lions — are faring so badly.

It is understood that considerable extra cash has been allocated to these clubs over the years — and may still be — yet they seem to be going nowhere but down.

Take a look at the Premier, First Division South and U20A logs and you get the picture, while as at May 12 (the most recent log available in this league) Young Lions were winless and last in the Midlands Third Division.

Jaguars and Wentworth, for example, have quite incredibly lost all 40 matches between their first and second teams, as well as the Jaguar U20A team this season, while conceding 2 292 points. That’s 57 per game. They have scored a collective 246 points in 40 matches at an average six points per match.

Something’s wrong somewhere and, in the meantime, not much developing appears to be in motion at these clubs.

Hopefully, there are some returning Sharks XV players who could boost Jaguars against Maritzburg Varsity in Saturday’s 3.30 pm Premier Division clash at the Varsity Stadium off Golf Road. Although Varsity’s majority away mat­ches now turn into a slight home encounter advantage as the league reaches halfway, these returning Sharks XV men will make their clashes even more daunting in virtually every outing.

Jaguars’ Waylon Murray should play, while new Varsity signing Chris Micklewood, fresh from the English Premiership’s Newcastle, is awaiting medical clearance.

At Woodburn, Ballito outplayed PMB Elephants by six tries, with poor basic skills and technique ensuring that the majority of tackled-ball situations en­ded in penalties — a stop-start affair unpleasant to report on.

Flank Willie Meyer, hooker Sean Crombie (2), right wing Jacques Blignaut, flyhalf Brendan Pentafi, and inside centre Chris Owen (2) scored Ballito’s tries.

The U20A Division’s Frank Norris Cup looks set to move 250-odd metres south, as Durban Collegians’ heart-stopping 18-17 win gives them an eight-point lead over eight-time consecutive champions College Rovers.

The match was reportedly as much a battle of wits between coaches Sean Erasmus (Collegians) and Kevin Smith as the skill of the players.

 

RESULTS

Premier Division: Rovers 17 D Coll 16; Saders 3 OB 6; Quins 13 PMB Var 12; Jags 11 Zululand 29. Reserves: Rovers 34 D Coll 15; Saders 25 OB 5; Quins 40 PMB Var 20; Jags 7 Zululand 8. 1st Div South: D Var 10 S Coast 57; PMB Elephants 5 Ballito 41; Kokstad 8 Hillcrest 24; Wentworth 0 PMB Collegians 97. Reserves: D Var 7 S Coast 31; PMB Elephants 26 Ballito 5; Kokstad 0 Hillcrest 36; Wentworth 0 PMB Collegians 27. U20A: Rovers 17 D Coll 18; Saders 10 OB 17; Quins 27 Maritzburg 19; Jaguars 8 Empangeni 65. U20B: Rovers 22 D Coll 13; Quins 3 Pietermaritzburg 26.

KZN CLUB LOGS

Premier Division (played 6, pts diff, pts): 1 College Rovers 104PD, 27 pts; 2 Dbn Collegians 101PD, 24 pts; 3 Crusaders 53PD, 19 pts; 4 Old Boys 43PD, 19 pts; 5 Zululand -10PD, 15 pts; 6 Harlequins -54PD, 10 pts; 7 PMB Varsity -64PD, 5 pts; 8 Jaguars -173PD, 0 pts.

First Division South (played 7 unless stated): 1 PMB Collegians 321PD, 33 pts; 2 Hillcrest 168PD, 26 pts; 3 South Coast 143PD, 26 pts; 4 Toti 172PD, 25 pts; 5 Ballito 30PD, 20 pts; 6 Dbn Var -164PD 6 pts; 7 PMB Elephants -99PD, 6 pts; 8 Kokstad -151PD, 6 pts; 9 Wentworth (8) -418PD, 0 pts.

First Div North (top 2): 1 Vryheid (6) 336PD, 30 pts; 2 Piet Retief 50PD, 19 pts.

U20A: 1 Dbn Coll (12) 420PD, 58 pts; 2 Rovers (12) 500PD, 50 pts; 3 Empangeni (11) 290PD, 36 pts; 4 Old Boys (12) 123PD, 35 pts; 5 Quins (11) 49PD, 27 pts; 6 Pietermaritzburg (11) -155PD, 14 pts; 7 Saders (11) -371PD, 11 pts; 8 Jaguars (12) -856PD, 2 pts.

SELECTED FIXTURES

Today – U20C (8 pm): PMB Varsity A vs Empangeni B.

Saturday – Premier Division (3.30 pm): Old Boys vs College Rovers; Dbn Coll vs Crusaders; Zululand vs Harlequins; PMB Varsity vs Jaguars. Reserves 2 pm. First Div South (3.30 pm): South Coast vs PMB Collegians; Toti vs Hillcrest; Dbn Var vs Ballito; Kokstad vs PMB Elephants; Wentworth (bye). Reserves 2 pm. U20A (3.30 pm unless stated): D Coll vs Saders (2 pm); OB vs Rov; Empangeni vs Quins; Pietermaritzburg vs Jags. U20B: Pietermaritzburg vs South Coast (2 pm Woodburn 2). U20C: PMB Coll vs Wentworth (3.30 pm Woodburn 2).

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