Midlands rugby dissenters under fire

2009-10-01 00:00

THE chairman of PMB Waratahs Rugby Club, Fanie Crous, lashed out yesterday at what he sees as certain Midlands Rugby Sub-Union (MRSU) clubs taking a selfish position on the future of the game here.

“I am not at all happy with the way some clubs in Pietermaritzburg think that they are bigger than midlands rugby,” Crous said.

“No one is bigger than the game, and PMB Waratahs will do everything in our power to keep club rugby in the midlands alive.”

Two of the 16 clubs that are under the umbrella of the MRSU have rejected the governing body’s proposal to form a composite senior Midlands Rugby Club in a bid to field a more competitive team to take on the Durban clubs. They are Premier Division PMB Varsity and First Division PMB Collegians.

Proppie Ungerer, who has been involved in local club rugby as a player, administrator and supporter for 49 years, believes that forming a Midlands Rugby Club senior team, drawing on the best players in the region, is the only option left after the extremely poor results achieved by Varsity at Premier Division level over the past number of seasons.

“A midlands senior team is the only way to go,” said Ungerer. “I saw the writing on the wall six years ago, and said so at the time.”

Both Varsity and Collegians are around 100 years old, but Ungerer said that is not the most pressing issue.

“Over the decades, club with long histories have folded or been forced to amalgamate.

“This is to do with the survival of club rugby in Pietermaritzburg, club rugby teams that are able to compete with the best in Durban,” Ungerer said.

Crous said Collegians chairman Tony Day’s argument that the proposed Midlands club is not adequately prepared, is incorrect.

“Tony Day says the proposed Midlands Rugby Club has no business plan to fund the club, no coach, no committee structure and so on. Those issues cannot be implemented until an actual Midlands Rugby Club has been formed. Only then can you start that process,” said Crous.

PMB Waratahs was called Westmore Park until 12 years ago, and has a history going back 75 years.

“There are plans in place for Waratahs to play whatever role is needed, to assist in any way, in order to keep the game alive in Pietermaritzburg and the midlands,” Crous said.

Next week could see a pivotal couple of days determine the future of club rugby in Pietermaritzburg.

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