Wake-up call for PMB club rugby

2008-06-08 00:00

As a loyal supporter of club rugby in KZN’s capital city, it was disquieting sitting among a small band of brothers of similar persuasion during the Premier Division mis-match between Maritzburg Varsity and Crusaders of Durban North, which resulted in a 76-0 scoreline.

Trailing by 26 points with 65 minutes left, Varsity’s game was already over.

They tried hard; they had patches in the second half where tries were on the table; but they were overwhelmed in defence by a Saders team that outgunned them in every department.

In the last five or so years, it has been bitter stuff to swallow on cold nights in the Peter Booysen Sport Park, but there has been solace in the occasional huge upset.

But the writing has been on the wall for some time. Premier Division rugby has moved on and Varsity have stayed behind.

Varsity have an excellent coach in former Varsity loose forward Richard Bates, but the massive Moor Cup Premier Division sponsorship from House of Paint has been accompanied in recent times by the top clubs in Durban progressing to more professional levels. Close to the way provincial rugby was pre the 1995 World Cup.

And over the last decade, Varsity’s feeder system of top-class young men from midlands’ great institutions and from the contingent of quality students ex-Zimbabwe’s top schools — has slowed to not even a trickle.

The metro city, boasting a municipal manager in Rob Haswell, who is a staunch rugby man with strong Varsity links, and this university’s hierarchy, cannot allow this to continue.

SCORERS: PMB Varsity 0 Crusaders (40) 76 (tries Thabo Mamojela 2, Matt de Beer 2, Helmar Breytenbach, Ryan Massyn 2, Luzuku Vulundlu 2, Skoliwe Ndlovu, Kobus de Kock 2; conversions De Kock 8).

RESULTS: Premier Division: Durban Collegians 32 Jaguars 16; Harlequins 16 Old Boys 21; Maritzburg Varsity 0 Crusaders 76; Zululand 12 College Rovers 13. Reserves: Durban Collegians 32 Jaguars 3; Harlequins 3 Old Boys 33; Maritzburg Varsity 6 Crusaders 26; Zululand 0 College Rovers 12. U20A: Harlequins 33 Old Boys 21; Empangeni 3 Rovers 45; Midlands 25 Crusaders 43; D Coll 36 Jags 6. U20B: Midlands 21 Saders 15; South Coast 12 Rovers 24; Hillcrest 24 Old Boys 41. First Division South: PMB Collegians 13 South Coast 22; Durban University 16 PMB Waratahs 14. Reserves: PMB Collegians 22 South Coast 38; Durban University 5 PMB Waratahs 0.

* A report on the other club rugby divisions mentioned in the results will appear in tomorrow’s Witness.

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