Rhinos run over College Rovers

2008-08-04 00:00

IN what must rank as one of the biggest upsets in recent years, Zululand upstaged perennial league champions College Rovers on their home turf to emerge victorious in the semi-finals of the Captain Morgan Murray Cup club rugby competition in Durban on Saturday afternoon.

King’s Park 3 is usually the graveyard of visiting teams, but Zululand’s Rhinos were having nothing of it as they outplayed their opponents to win 21-9.

The Rhinos underlined that their dramatic improvement in the second half of the season was no fluke, and they impressed one and all at King’s Park 3 with a passionate display.

Rovers knew they had been pushed to the limit in the first half by the committed Rhinos and turned around 6-5 ahead. However, former Midlands Rugby Academy student Prince Mofokeng scored a vital try for Zululand that broke the home side’s back.

A brace of penalties from classy flyhalf Luylo Tobezweni and fullback Danie Dames ensured the winning margin remained beyond Rovers’ grasp and the Zululand victory was just reward for the Empangeni-based Rhinos, not least their long-time former head coach and current club chairman, Simon Harvey.

It is seldom that one comes across such a hardworking, selfless yet competitive man who at the same time embodies all that is good about club sport and gives so much to the game for little reward. This writer could not think of a nicer guy to enjoy what is a special moment for the Zululand club.

The Rhinos, though, will have to produce the same sort of performance against the other semi-final winners, Crusaders, who won the fierce Durban North derby against Old Boys 32-21, in a quality club rugby match that was poised to go either way at times.

However, as much as one loves the underdog, the ability of Zululand’s fearless Rhinos to lift their game to the same level that accounted for Rovers is surely unlikely given the formidable, ruthless nature of the Saders squad. Still we can only dream.

SCORES IN BRIEF

Murray Cup semi-finals: Rovers 9 Zululand 21; Crusaders 32 Old Boys 21.

Reserves: Rovers 28 Zululand 12; Old Boys 29 Crusaders 21.

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