Tough finish: Long season for Varsity comes to a head with four key games

2011-07-12 00:00

THE Maritzburg Varsity first XV play a hurting Durban Collegians in a KZN Premier Division club rugby match at 8 oçlock tonight at the Peter Booysen Sports Park off Golf Road, with the seconds in the 6.30 pm curtain-raiser.

“We have started the run-in to the end of the league, with five matches remaining,” Varsity head coach Beans Bateman told The Witness yesterday. “We play these matches over the next three weeks, with four in the next two weeks.”

After Collegians, Varsity’s first and second teams play Jaguars in Durban, then come back for Crusaders at home next Tuesday, and Rhinos at home on Saturday, July 23.

The campus-based club finish off with an away game against Durban Collegians on Friday, July 29.

“All of them are very important if we are to challenge for a place in the top four,” said Bateman. “Quins beat Collegians at the weekend, so that makes it even more difficult for us, as it is likely that it will be Quins and us fighting for fourth spot.”

It has been a long season for the students, having started in October with the Varsity Shield preparations. “Managing the team through this tough finish is the key,” said Bateman.

“The boys are in high spirits and looking forward to the challenge.”

Meanwhile, PMB Collegians were given a workout by second-placed Amanzimtoti in their final KZN Premier Division South match.

Head coach Rinier Bosman’s side were 20-10 up at half-time, but Toti scored after the break to leave them trailing 22-20.

Knowing their unbeaten league record was at stake, Collegians stepped up against the big Toti lads eventually to win 28-25 at Woodburn.

Loosehead Blake Kyd was outstanding in every respect, particularly his scrummaging, where Collegians turned over five or six scrums against the heavier Toti pack, while loose forward Justin Smith’s physicality and output was superb.

The backline youngsters were also in fine nick.

“We should have wrapped it up in the first half, but two or three tries were left on the table,” said Collegians chairman Tony Day.

“It was a big game for them as they wanted to prove a thing or two.”

Although Collegians have won the south section by a country mile, they still have the KZN First Division title to win, when they meet north section winners Vryheid in the final in Empangeni on July 31.

The date with Vryheid is still three weeks away, so Collegians have time enough to prepare a battle plan that will turn the tables on the side that edged them in last year’s final.

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