Bleak midlands club rugby weekend

2008-04-06 00:00

Aside from Maritzburg Collegians, it was a bleak weekend in KwaZulu-Natal club competitions for Maritzburg Rugby Sub Union teams.

On Friday, the South Coast Warriors firsts beat Drakensberg 37-6. On Saturday, Crusaders thrashed Maritzburg Varsity 82-7, Hillcrest thumped PMB Waratahs 46-5 and Crusaders U20A beat Midlands U20A 24-3. PMB Collegians held the MRSU flag high, though, with the firsts hammering Wentworth 74-6.

At Woodburn Stadium, the two First Division South victories were built on the classic principle of forward dominance enabling front-foot possession and thereby the time and space that backs love.

Hillcrest did exactly that, putting the Waratahs under immediate pressure to go a goal up in the opening minutes. Before long, it was 21-0 and Waratahs skipper Woody Newman’s side faced an uncomfortable afternoon. To their credit, Waratahs achieved some measure of parity in territory and possession, but Hillcrest added another try before the interval.

The visitors scored four more after the changeover, but the biggest cheer from a sizeable, enthusiastic crowd was reserved for Waratahs vice-captain Brendon Fourie, the nippy scrumhalf rewarded for his side’s perseverance when he darted over.

Collegians were even more impressive in running rings around a disappointing Wentworth, who played as poorly as their mismatched socks might have suggested.

With the surfeit of front-foot ball, Collegians halfback Michael Brinjack and Francois Lubbe had a field day. Lubbe, this time at flyhalf, is one of the few players at this level able to jink off either foot, while his strength with ball in hand meant he was able to shake off many a tackle that might have succeeded elsewhere.

With powerful hooker Charl Bezuidenhout plus locks Righardt Kotze and Justin Wendover at the forefront, Collegians romped over for 12 tries. Lubbe got four, outside centre Nick Dewing three and left wing Yster du Preez two with the rest going to fullback Theo van Tonder, Kotze and Brinjack.

Wentworth flyhalf Grant Goeieman kicked two penalties for a disjointed team that is destined to struggle.

Although Collegians put their foot on the accelerator in the second half to go from 27-3 to the eventual 74-6, coach Jan Botha and the players will know that it could have been far more had they not undone their constructive work in creating opportunities through the botching of that critical final play.

Too many tries were left on the table — something the better sides in this division won’t forgive.


Premier Division: College Rovers 51 Zululand Rhinos 13; Old Boys 25 Harlequins 22; Crusaders 82 PMB Varsity 7; Jaguars 32 Durban Collegians 27. Reserves: Rovers 38 Zululand 13; Old Boys 64 Harlequins 0; Crusaders 34 PMB Varsity 3; Jaguars 0 DBN Collegians 69. First Division South: SC Warriors 37 Drakensberg 5; PMB Waratahs 5 Hillcrest 46; PMB Collegians 74 Wentworth 6.

Reserves: SC Warriors 5 Drakensberg 36; PMB Waratahs 8 Hillcrest 32; PMB Collegians 57 Wentworth 0. U20A: Jaguars 12 Durban Collegians 81; Rovers 65 Empangeni 24; Old Boys 23 Harlequins 14; Crusaders 24 Midlands 3. U20B: Rovers 62 SCW 0; Old Boys 42 Hillcrest 12;

Crusaders 24 Midlands 3.

* Midlands are looking for more referees. They will be given training, so novices are also welcome.

Contact the MRSU office at 033 345 7183.

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