Mixed fortunes for Varsity First XV

2011-07-21 00:00

THE Maritzburg Varsity first XV have had mixed fortunes in recent Premier Division matches, with a defeat against bottom club Jaguars at the weekend before they thumped Crusaders on Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, south section winners PMB Collegians are readying themselves for an epic First Division final against north section victors Vryheid in Empangeni on Saturday, July 30.

Home side Varsity had a good 44-28 win against Crusaders at Peter Booysen Sports Park.

Crusaders opened the scoring with a converted try and Varsity retaliated with a try from No. 8 Kyle Ross. Two penalties by Kirsten Jones had Varsity leading 11-7 before an intercept try saw Saders leading 14-11 at the break.

Varsity took control and upped the pace after half-time and they were rewarded with five tries, four of which were converted by Jones.

Lock Chris Ndlovu, replacement number eight Leon Stevens, replacement fullback Harry Whitely and wing Louis Nondela touched down. Saders scored two converted tries.

“The final score is an indication of the enterprising play by both teams,” said Varsity head coach Beans Bateman.

Outstanding for Varsity were Ndlovu and centre Gareth Melle.

Playing against Jaguars at home on a Friday night is never easy and this proved true once again.

Jaguars were in a buoyant mood after a convincing win against Rhinos the week before. The match was played in damp conditions, which made handling difficult.

“These conditions generally even up the contest and Varsity were unable to get good momentum to play their style of rugby,” said Bateman.

Jaguars scored two converted tries after capitalising on Varsity mistakes. Varsity scored through flank Tyrone Leach, converted by Jones, who also kicked a penalty.

Jaguars turned around 14-10 up, but the second half had Varsity taking the lead through a second try by Leach, converted by Jones.

“Varsity looked like they were taking control, but failed to capitalise on good opportunities,” Bateman said.

“Crucial handling errors were made with the try line beckoning. A spirited Jaguars team tend to punish those mistakes and this they did by applying pressure.”

Jags were rewarded with a try near the end, for 19-17.

Varsity host Zululand at Peter Booysen Sports Park, off Golf Road, on Saturday. The seconds play the curtain-raiser at 2 pm, followed by the firsts at 3.30 pm.

Meanwhile, Collegians have been preparing for the final that will decide the province’s First Division champions. Empangeni is the neutral venue, the same Mick Kelly Park where Vryheid edged the red, black and whites for the title last season.

The Collegians class of 2011 is a different proposition altogether, with a landslide win in south section. However, Vryheid have mustered quality players who can win First Division trophies, which has become their property of late.

RESULTS

Prem Div: Dbn Collegians 23 Old Boys 19; Rovers 63 Crusaders 0; Zululand 13 Harlequins 3.

FIXTURES

Saturday – Prem Div (home team first, 3.30 pm): College Rovers vs Durban Collegians; Old Boys vs Crusaders; UKZN Maritzburg vs Zululand Rhinos; Harlequins vs Jaguars. Reserves 2 pm. First Div Top 5 South section (3.30 pm): Amanzimtoti vs Richards Bay; Hillcrest vs Ballito Dolphins. Reserves 2 pm. Saturday, August 6: Murray Cup knockout qualifying round: Premier Division clubs vs Top 8 First Div clubs (based on a draw).

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