PMB Waratahs shine in tough weekend

2009-05-26 00:00

IT was a difficult weekend for Midlands Rugby Sub Union teams in KwaZulu-Natal club rugby’s various leagues.

Premier Division Maritzburg Varsity held Zululand Rhinos in the first half, but the floodgates opened somewhat after the half-time break for the much-improved men from Empangeni to run out 37-3 winners.

The rugby academy in Empangeni is starting to produce results, although the region also has strong financial backing from personalities in the community, which enables them to attract good players from outside the province.

Visitors Maritzburg Collegians went down 31-5 to the strong South Coast Warriors XV in the First Division South, while PMB Waratahs enjoyed a big win over an admittedly weak Kokstad line-up who are taking big hidings this season.

Rugby in the province offers many opportunities for talented school leavers to realise their rugby potential. Not only is there the highly acclaimed Sharks Academy, there are now four additional regional academies underpinned by their sub-unions and guided and supported by the KZN Rugby Union and the Sharks, all providing regional centres of high performance.

“These regional academies, based in the midlands [at Woodburn], Zululand, southern KZN and south Durban, currently have over 160 rugby students attending, supported by 22 specialist staff who are doing an excellent job in helping to retain as many of the province’s top schools’ players within the province, while also attracting many others from schools all over South Africa,” said KZNRU academies co-ordinator Ricky Huey.

“This contributes markedly to the strength of KZN’s U19 and U21 squads and plays a significant role in the growth of the club structures in KZN.”

The first academies tournament was held in Durban last Wednesday and watched by KZN U19 and U21 coaches, managers and selectors including Rudolf Straeuli, Sean Everett, Swys de Bruin, Ettienne Finn and Deon Kayser.

In the final, the stronger and more experienced host academy team, Raggies, ran out 21-12 victors over a gallant young Zululand squad.

Premier Division: PMB Varsity 3 Zululand 37. Reserves: Maritzburg Varsity 5 Zululand Rhinos 45. First Div South: Hillcrest 43 Durban Varsity 12; South Coast 31 Maritzburg Collegians 5; PMB Waratahs 51 Kokstad 0; Amanzimtoti 57 Wentworth 0. Reserves: Hillcrest 61 Durban Varsity 0; South Coast 15 Maritzburg Collegians 24; PMB Waratahs 44 Kokstad 0; Amanzimtoti 17 Wentworth 3. First Div North: Vryheid 57 Newcastle 0; Piet Retief 38 Volksrust 3. Reserves: Vryheid 21 Newcastle 18; Piet Retief 34 Volksrust 3; Ladysmith II 21 Pongola 25.

Saturday – Prem Div: PMB Varsity vs Harlequins (3.30 pm Varsity Stadium); Crusaders vs College Rovers; Old Boys vs Zululand; Durban Collegians vs Jaguars. First Div South (all 3.30 pm): PMB Collegians vs Wentworth (Woodburn Stadium 3.30 pm); Ballito vs PMB Waratahs; Kokstad vs South Coast; Toti vs Hillcrest. U20A Div: Midlands vs Harlequins (3.30 pm Woodburn 2); Saders vs Rovers; Old Boys vs Empangeni; Durban Collegians vs Jaguars.

Dates, times, venues subject to change.

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