Varsity edge closer to fourth place after win over Zululanders

2011-07-28 00:00

THE Maritzburg Varsity first XV moved closer to fourth place on the KZN Premier Division Moor Cup log with a 37-33 win over Zululand Rhinos at Peter Booysen Sports Park in Pietermaritzburg.

Even though the score board reflects a close game, Varsity were clearly the better side, having scored seven tries to three but losing their compass when it came to kicking at goal, while Rhinos were spot-on.

Tomorrow, Varsity are up against Durban Collegians in Durban. They play Collegians again on Tuesday next week at Peter Booysen Sports Park off Golf Road at 8 pm.

This is a postponed fixture from earlier in the season when Collegians were granted a postponement by the KZN Rugby Union after claiming a spate of injuries.

These two matches are the last of the Moor Cup campaign and with fifth place secure, Varsity will give it everything to try and finish a credible fourth in the league.

“To take points off Collegians is a very tough challenge. It has been a long, hard season for the boys and they are very determined to put in a strong finish,” Varsity head coach Beans Bateman said.

Runaway KZN First Division South winners Maritzburg Collegians play Vryheid, the north division winners, in the first division final in Empangeni’s Mick Kelly Park at 3 pm on Saturday. This title match can go either way, but Collegians have been so dominant this season one can’t help thinking that this is their year.

Against Rhinos, Varsity were always in control but the Zululanders were kept in the game by the campus men not putting their kicks over.

The first-half tries were scored by fullback Wessel Booysen (2), wing Louis Nondela and lock Chris Ndlovu. Added to this was a conversion by flyhalf Kirsten Jones.

Rhinos scored a converted try and three penalties to make the half-time score 22-16 to the campus-based side. The second half was much of the same, with Varsity in control and playing some attractive rugby.

“The Rhinos also contributed to an expansive and entertaining game, as every time Varsity looked like they would take the game away from Rhinos completely, the visitors were kept in touch by their reliable goal kicker,” Bateman summed it up.

In the second half, Varsity scored three unconverted tries to a penalty and two converted tries by the Rhinos.

The stand-out players for Varsity were fullback Booysen, who seems to be stepping up a gear with every game, and the ultra-consistent number eight Leon Stevens.

Meanwhile, Varsity have drawn Hillcrest in the first round of the Castle Lager Murray Cup next Saturday, August 6, in Hillcrest.

“All the focus is on completing the league in good fashion before looking forward to the knockout competition,” said Bateman.

An indication of whether PMB Collegians are ready for KZN Premier Division rugby will become clearer on the same Saturday, when they take on basement premier side Jaguars in Murray Cup first-round action at Woodburn.

FIXTURES

Tomorrow: Prem Div (8 pm home team first): College Rovers vs Jaguars; Durban Collegians vs UKZN Maritzburg; Crusaders vs Harlequins; Old Boys vs Zululand Rhinos. Reserves 6.30 pm.

Saturday: First Division final — PMB Collegians vs Vryheid (Empangeni, Mick Kelly Park, 3 pm).

August 6 (Saturday) Murray Cup first round: (3.30 pm home team first): Ballito Dolphins vs Old Boys; Richards Bay vs Crusaders; Newcastle vs Harlequins; Hillcrest vs PMB Varsity; Ladysmith vs Durban Collegians; PMB Collegians vs Jaguars (3.30 pm Woodburn Stadium). Vryheid vs * College Rovers; Amanzimtoti vs Zululand Rhinos.

Quarter-finals, Saturday August 20; Semi-finals, Saturday August 27; Final, Saturday September 3.

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