Club rugby season kicks off

2012-03-30 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal club rugby season kicks off this weekend and for Maritzburg Varsity and PMB Collegians it heralds a new beginning in more ways than one.

PMB Varsity will be looking to regroup after most of the side went through a win-less Varsity Shield competition with the UKZN Impi.

They have a new coach in Shaun van Rensburg, the director of rugby at Voortrekker, but Varsity don’t expect any conflict of interest, as Vories’ matches are played earlier on Saturdays while the KZN Premier Division club matches are played either at 3.30 pm on Saturdays or on Friday nights.

Van Rensburg is a former professional, having played in the Heineken Cup in Europe. He has coached in Chicago and at Harlequins on the Bluff.

Varsity have drawn the short straw in that they will play champions College Rovers in tomorrow’s Premier Division opener. The match is at 3.30 pm at the Peter Booysen Sports Park on campus, but that is just about all that favours the Whites at this stage.

Also tomorrow, Premier Division newcomers PMB Collegians host Harlequins at 3.30 pm at Woodburn Stadium and it will be interesting to measure where the 2011 KZN First Division winners are in comparison with a durable Premier Division side such as Quins.

Having enjoyed a triumphant 2011 in which they swept all before them in the lower division, Collegians are unfamiliar with defeat and this season will present the sternest test of the players’ mettle yet.

Their fans’ expectations must be grounded in reality as Premier Division is a marked step up, and the season should be viewed as productive if the red, black and whites avoid the wooden spoon in this their first season in a long time at top level.

At 8 tonight on Woodburn’s number two field, dogged campaigners the PMB Waratahs open their KZN First Division campaign against Hillcrest, who will be a tough nut to crack.

Meanwhile, table toppers the University of Pretoria will host University of Stellenbosch in the Varsity Cup final on Monday, April, 9. Pretoria beat University of North West 53-24 and Stellenbosch beat University of Johannesburg 23-0 to ensure their places in the final.


Today: First Division South: PMB Waratahs vs Hillcrest (8 pm Woodburn 2. Reserves 6.30 pm.

Tomorrow: Premier Division (home teams first, 3.30 pm): PMB Collegians vs Harlequins (Woodburn Stadium); PMB Varsity vs College Rovers; Crusaders vs Durban Collegians; Zululand Rhinos vs Old Boys (Empangeni). Reserves 2 pm. First Division South (3.30 pm): Amanzimtoti vs Ballito Dolphins; South Coast Warriors vs Jaguars (Port Shepstone); Durban Varsity vs Richards Bay. Reserves 2 pm. U20A Division: Crusaders vs Durban Collegians (2 pm); Midlands vs Old Boys (3.30 pm Woodburn 3); Harlequins vs College Rovers (3.30 pm). U20B Division: South Coast Warriors vs Durban Collegians B; PMB Varsity vs College Rovers B (2 pm).

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