Crusaders aim to stick to winning ways

2013-08-22 00:00

CRUSADERS Rugby Club prepare for a stern test against College Rovers on Saturday in a Murray Cup quarter-final showdown at Rovers, kicking off at 2.30 pm.

The boys from Durban North are not lacking in confidence following a first-round demolition of Hillcrest last Saturday, winning 74-5 at Shongweni. Rovers, while smarting from a 75-0 loss to Saracens at the Liv Village charity match last week, are never to be underestimated and have not been a champion club in recent years without reason.

It’s a knock-out encounter and a loss for either side spells exit from the competition.

Crusaders coach Lodewyk Riekert has no intentions of his team’s challenge falling short on Saturday and wants to be in the draw for the semi-finals being made at King’s Park on Monday afternoon.

“We have the ability to go all the way, but it won’t be easy,” he said. “Crusaders have won this competition before, lifting the cup in 2004. We have played in three finals and last year lost to Rovers 26-24. We know what it’s like to win and want to go one step better this time.”

Riekert’s side are a mix of experience and youth, with players of SA Schools pedigree and provincial experience in the line-up.

“Either way, if we win this weekend, the next match is just as tough. With Rovers, Durban Collegians, UKZN, Piet Retief, Varsity College, Harlequins and North Coast Rhinos joining us in vying for the cup, its percentage, tight rugby with no room for error,” said Riekert.

Further Inland, the KZN First Division North Section winners Piet Retief took the honours against sixth-placed KZN Premier Division team Maritzburg Collegians by a 24-10 scoreline at their Northern KZN stronghold last weekend to qualify for Saturday’s Castle Murray Cup quarter-finals.

The score was 10-10 at full time before Piet Retief added another 14 points in extra time. Piet Retief’s Jannie Greyling was man of the match.

The PMB Collegians lads now drop down to the Junior Murray Cup competition and they will face Westville at 3 pm Saturday on their Woodburn Stadium turf.

To make the victory even sweeter for coach Johan Bender’s Piet Retief team, they were drawn to host UKZN Impi in the quarter-finals at 3 pm on Saturday. The Impi qualified for the quarter-finals after beating a gallant Westville Old Boys 47-30; the students’ Yandisa Mdolomba won the player accolade.

Elsewhere, Moor Cup Premier Division champs College Rovers put 10 tries past home team Amanzimtoti in a 64-7 victory at a festive Toti rugby ground. The Rovers tries went to centre Nick Jackson (three), player of the match Gavin Scott (two), Anton Verster (two), Eric Ngoie, Juan Language and Kelvin Adam. Toti centre Wimpie Pretorius scored his side’s lone try.

Durban Collegians outplayed Richards Bay 59-10, nailing down eight tries in the process, with Collegians flyhalf Duncan Campbell the standout player. Collegians’ tries went to Dean Stow, Gary Collins, Lindani Mdlalose, Skholiwe Ndlovu, Brendon Groenewald, Jacques Taylor, Francois Kleynhans and Dylan Nel.

Zululand Rhinos beat home side Ballito Dolphins 61-5 with four-try Thulani Mduli named as the outstanding player. The Rhinos’ five other tries went to Thokozani Mduli, Franz du Preez, Michael Nyschens, Ado Wessels and Sam Goodwin.

In the other Murray Cup qualifier matches, Crusaders beat Hillcrest 59-10 while Varsity College outran hosts Vryheid 62-5 and Harlequins beat Newcastle Highlanders 22-8.

Murray Cup quarter-finals on Saturday (all 3 pm):

Piet Retief v UKZN Impi

Rovers v Crusaders

Durban Collegians v Varsity College

Zululand Rhinos v Harlequins

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