Winning league ‘was a necessity’

2014-08-07 00:00

DURBAN Collegians are riding high after completing an unbeaten season in the KZN club rugby Fidelity Security Premier Division.

They made it 14 wins from 14 games when they beat College Rovers 26-20 in a tough Durban derby on Saturday.

Collegians are now league champions for the first time in eight years, usurping Rovers who have been a dominant force for the past decade.

Head coach Robin Swanepoel said that winning the league had become a necessity after some heartbreak last year.

“We set the goal last year when we lost the Murray Cup final on a technicality. We said to ourselves that we would take the league and Murray Cup this year,” he said.

Swanepoel, who has now won the league as a coach, Rover and Collegian, said Collegians club chairperson Ian Losinsky was ­responsible for turning the club around.

“He had a vision of restoring the club and he let me put a team together around me. All the credit goes to him.”

The coach said that the biggest challenge was changing the perception of his players, who he said had “Rover-litus”, as their biggest rivals had enjoyed dominance in the local club scene for years.

“We had to break that perception. At the end of the day, it’s just another set of jerseys. We got the buy-in from the players and it went from there.”

Putting in extra hours with video analysis each week also helped Collegians study their opponents. “We got a technical adviser, we knew who we were playing every week and what to expect. That made a difference.”

Their next focus is the Murray Cup. Collegians face Harlequins this weekend to qualify for the knockout tournament and Swanepoel is taking it one week at a time.

“Our focus is on Harlequins this weekend. In this sport if you look to far ahead you can find yourself on your rear-end.”

Looking at next season, winning the league means Collegians have confirmed their spot in the 2015 Community Cup.

“To sum it up, the 2015 spread sheet is open and preparation has started. I think it would be amazing for KZN if we could win it — that is the goal.”

Murray Cup Qualifying Round: Saturday, August 9

First Division v Premier Division VENUE TIME

Jaguars vs College Rovers Jaguars 2.30 pm

South Coast Warriors vs Crusaders South Coast Warriors 2.30 pm

Vryheid vs Amanzimtoti Vryheid 2.30 pm

Richards Bay vs Zululand Rhinos Richards Bay 2.30 pm

Newcastle Highlanders vs Varsity College Newcastle 2.30 pm

Harlequins vs Durban Collegians Harlequins 2.30 pm

Hillcrest vs Maritzburg Collegians Hillcrest 5.00 pm

Piet Retief vs UKZN Impi Piet Retief 2.30 pm.

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