Varsity win derby, while Rhinos run rampant

2008-08-10 00:00

ON a perfect evening for rugby, the much-awaited York and Lancaster Cup semi-final between long-time rivals Maritzburg Collegians and PMB Varsity failed to live up to expectations as the campus-based club laboured to an unimpressive 18-6 victory.

Varsity were fortunate in that outstanding tighthead prop and captain Derek Clifton and his front-row colleagues totally outplayed their opposite numbers and absolute dominance laid the foundation for the rest of the pack and the 18-6 half-time lead.

It didn’t harm Varsity that Collegians were strangely subdued in the first 40 minutes and by the time their opponents woke up, the match was more or less in the bag.

Quality Collegians scrumhalf Mike Brnjac was heroic behind his well-beaten pack, who were nowhere on the night, apart from exciting former DHS and Natal Schools’ star Sisa Songxaba.

This Midlands Rugby Academy student has a bright future in the game should he maintain his progress, but for the rest it was not a match they will want to remember. Indeed, the second half served up the most forgettable rugby seen at Woodburn in 12 years, and the final whistle came as a relief.

Meanwhile, in the Murray Cup final, giantkillers the Zululand Rhinos pulled off a momentous 22-18 win over Crusaders on King’s Park 3. This followed the Rhinos’ convincing 21-9 defeat of perennial champions College Rovers in the semi-finals. The man of the match award in the forwards went to the Rhinos’ Mathew Calitz, while the Murray Cup player of the tournament and backline star of the final accolades added further gloss to the reputation being developed by the Zululanders’ Luylo Tobezweni.

This crowns a magnificent season for rank outsiders the Rhinos and their coaching staff. It is also a further feather in the cap of former head coach and current club chairman Simon Harvey, who has soldiered on through the ups and downs of many a season with the spirited Empangeni-based boys.

A more likeable rugby man you will struggle to find and the success he is enjoying provides proof that nice guys don’t always finish second.

Y&L Cup semi-final scores: PMB Varsity 18 (tries Deon Meyer, Craig Hutton; conversion and 2 penalties Ian Baines) PMB Collegians 6 (2 penalties Stefan van Rensburg).

FINALS RESULTS

York & Lancaster Cup semi-final: P Var 18 P Coll 6. Reserves: P Var 33 P Coll 0. Captain Morgan Murray Cup final: Northwood Crusaders 18 Zululand Rhinos 22. Reserves: Rovers 37 Old Boys 10. U20C: Toti 41 PMB Waratahs 7. U20D: Jaguars 67 Kwantu 8. Jnr Murray Cup: Vryheid 42 Toti 25. Reserves: Vryheid 9 Toti 26. First Div Bottom 5: Durban Varsity 25 PMB Waratahs 22. Reserves: D Var 7 Waratahs 31.

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