PMB club rugby teams looking good

2010-05-11 00:00

LATE last year there was much discussion and controversy about Pietermaritzburg’s top club first teams joining under one banner in order to be competitive at KZN Premier Division level.

That seems light years away now, and PMB Collegians chairperson Tony Day and PMB Varsity sports officer for rugby, Reggie Smith, who were vehemently against the idea, can feel at ease by this season’s turn of events.

Yes, Varsity have still to win, but their 13-6 defeat at Empangeni against the resurgent Zululand Rhinos is just another indication of how close they are to the good times.

Varsity’s inability to convert try-scoring opportunities is maddening, but heartening is the major signing of Westville product Chris Micklewood (23), the junior KZN fullback and flyhalf points machine who is due back from English Premiership club Newcastle Falcons next weekend.

Another plus is the arrival of dimi­nutive American Eagles World Cup squad utility back Brendan Gray. Highly talented in the Brent Russell mould, Gray (20) could be the answer alongside Micklewood.

Varsity’s first and seconds “koppe­stamp” tonight will also sort the men from the boys.

The Collegians’ cup runneth over following a massively significant 24-10 win over last year’s First Division South champs Amanzimtoti at Woodburn on Friday night. And the PMB Elephants joined the party by finally clicking as a unit in beating last-placed Wentworth 42-0 in the late game.

The last time Collegians beat Toti was, like the win over Hillcrest, three years ago.

Ahead of the gripping encounter between the two top sides, Toti had lost just one First Division South match in 16 last season to pip Hillcrest, and their long after-match talk on the field was indicative of huge disappointment.

With Collegians switching left and right at every opportunity, both wings, try-scorer Rich Hayworth (left) and Craig Scott, got more running ball in one match than most get in half a season. With Collegians playing high-tempo rugby, the backs and forwards worked as one against the big Toti line-up, upsetting them big time.

The Collegians pack mauled faultlessly at times, 20 metres upfield on occasion, and captain and hooker Charl Bezuidenhout’s combination with lock Justin Smith was superb. One of Collegians’ two fine tries was an absolute stunner involving backs and forwards in a breathtaking sequence that ended with centre Shane Driemeyer dotting down.

The Toti kickers missed four goalable penalties as fullback Jaco de Jager and flyhalf Wimpie Pretorius managing just a conversion apiece for frustrated number eight Duane Wallis’s side, while consistent Collegians fullback Kirsten Jones missed only one kick all night in a 14-point tally.

But Toti’s two touchdowns were soft, both by centre Louis Joubert, and Collegians’ missed tackles and silly errors could have cost them dearly on other nights, despite their superiority in all respects. A healthy 21-0 became 21-14 in no time and with much of the second half left, Collegians could have blown it.

In a very poor Premier Division match in the Sharks curtain-raiser, Durban Collegians missed a great opportunity to sneak ahead of defending champs College Rovers when their 17-10 shading of Harlequins saw them miss out on a bonus point.

Quins’ confidence will be high as they go up against Varsity on the Bluff this Saturday, while the giant clash sees Rovers hosting Durban Collegians in front of what will be a huge club crowd.

Meanwhile, a much-depleted Maritzburg U20A lost badly to high riders Empangeni. The three PMB U20 teams playing at three different venues didn’t help,which saw the Maritzburg A team with only three substitutes on the bench.

RESULTS

Premier Division: Durban Collegians 17 Harlequins 10; Crusaders 12 College Rovers 22; Jaguars 6 Old Boys 35; Zululand 13 Maritzburg Varsity 6. Reserves: Durban Collegians 33 Harlequins 3; Crusaders 3 College Rovers 39; Jaguars 16 Old Boys 21; Zululand 18 Maritzburg Varsity 15. First Division South: Hillcrest 45 Durban Varsity 0; PMB Collegians 24 Amanzimtoti 10; PMB Elephants 42 Wentworth 0; Ballito (walkover) vs Kokstad. Reserves: Hillcrest 49 Durban Varsity 0; PMB Collegians 10 Amanzimtoti 31; PMB Elephants 26 Wentworth 3; Ballito (walkover) vs Kokstad. U20A: Crusaders 0 College Rovers 67; Jaguars 0 Old Boys 74; D Coll 51 Quins 15; Empangeni 57 Pietermaritzburg 0. U20B: Amanzimtoti A 7 Pietermaritzburg B 21. U20C: Pietermaritzburg C 80 Ogwini Bafana 0.

LOGS

Premier Division (played five; points difference, points): 1 College Rovers 105PD, 23 pts; 2 Durban Collegians 102PD, 23pts; 3 Crusaders 56PD, 18 pts; 4 Old Boys 40PD, 15 pts; 5 Zululand –23PD, 10pts; 6 Harlequins –57PD, 6 pts; 7 PMB Varsity –63PD, 4 pts; 8 Jaguars –162PD, 0 pts.

First Division South: (played six; PD, pts): 1 PMB Collegians 226PD, 28 pts; 2 Hillcrest 143PD, 21 pts; 3 South Coast 95PD, 21 pts; 4 Amanzimtoti 87PD 20 pts; 5 Ballito –6PD, 15 pts; 6 Durban Varsity –107PD, 13 pts; 7 PMB Elephants –63PD, 6 pts; 8 Kokstad –135PD, 6 pts; 9 Wentworth –241PD, 0 pts.

SELECTED FIXTURES

Thursday – U20A: Jaguars vs Empangeni (8 pm).

Saturday – Prem Div (3.30 pm): Rovers vs D Coll; Saders vs OB; Quins vs PMB Var; Jags vs Zululand. Reserves 2 pm. 1st Div South (3.30 pm): D Var vs S Coast; PMB Elephants vs Ballito (Woodburn); Kokstad vs Hillcrest; Wentworth vs PMB Collegians. Reserves 2 pm. U20A (2 pm): Rovers vs D Coll; Saders vs OB; Quins vs Maritzburg.

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