Community Cup: College Rovers seek redemption

2015-01-14 00:00

UNDER new leadership, College ­Rovers are seeking redemption after falling short in the 2014 Community Cup.

The former Club Championship winners were knocked out in last year’s semi-final by eventual winners Rustenburg Impala (32-13).

Rovers and Durban Collegians are the only two KwaZulu-Natal sides in the tournament and new head coach Derek Heiberg has been putting his charges through their paces in pre-season training.

“We put down a solid conditioning base and worked on core skills, ­rucking, breakdowns and defence,” Heiberg told The Witness.

Rovers have held onto a contingent of senior players while welcoming a number of new faces.

“Just taking a look at the guys we have kept, I’m pretty happy. The senior guys’ work ethic brushes off on the younger guys which helps a lot.”

Heiberg watched Rovers from a distance last year while coaching at Collegians and he believes experience is key in the national club competition.

“The Community Cup has a lot of battle-hardened club and provincial players; it requires a different experience level.”

Rovers face a potential group of death in Pool B as Pretoria Police, Bloemfontein Crusaders, Raiders and Noordelikes make for some tough ­encounters.

“Crusaders and Police will be very physical. But I’m happy with the pool, having tough games should make us more prepared for the knockout ­stages,” Heiberg said.

Rovers and Collegians have a bye in the first round, but Heiberg is not too concerned about missing the first round. “Most teams want to play straight away, but it does give the guys a chance to look at the other sides and some more time to prepare.”

Rovers take on the UKZN Impi next Friday in Pietermaritzburg in their first preseason friendly.

Following that is a double date with the Sharks’ Super Rugby and Vodacom Cup sides on January 28. They take on the Vodacom Cup outfit again on the following Thursday, before travelling to Vryheid in February for a final friendly against Ferros, who are in Pool D.

Rovers’ Community Cup fixtures (home team first): College Rovers vs Noordelikes, Saturday.

Pretoria Police vs College Rovers, March 7.

College Rovers vs Bloemfontein Crusaders, March 14.

Raiders vs College Rovers, March 21.

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