Durban Collegians confident about the Community Cup

2015-01-13 00:00

AFTER winning the 2013 Moor Cup, Durban Collegians have their eyes set on competing in the national club rugby championship — the Community Cup that gets under way in February.

The KwaZulu-Natal premier division winners have been hard at work since last year, having completed seven weeks of preseason training before taking a short break over the Christmas holidays.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday, head coach Robin Swanepoel was confident with the foundation laid down.

“We’ve put in a lot of work in the past few months and we’re looking forward to our preseason friendlies,” Swanepoel said.

Durban Collegians take on UKZN Impi in their first preseason friendly this Friday before they meet the Sharks Super Rugby squad later in the month alongside rivals College Rovers.

Collegians took no part in the 2013 Community Cup, which was won by Rustenberg Impala, and Swanepoel has had the opportunity to look in from the outside.

“We are feeling quite confident. We’ve done our homework and are well prepared. As far as our squad goes, the core of Collegians is there, although we said goodbye to a couple of players at the end of the year,” he said.

After seeing College Rovers bow out in last year’s semi-final, Swanepoel has a better idea of what it takes to compete for the coveted Gold Trophy.

“I don’t think it matters if you have older or younger players. If you have a good squad system and a sound game plan, I think you will do well. But it really depends on the coach and their systems,” he said.

Collegians are pitted against Despatch, Welkom Rovers, Ferros and Wesbank in Pool D. While Despatch is the toughest of the lot, Swanepoel is still wary of the other challengers.

“Obviously Despatch are well-renowned, but none of the teams will be walkovers. Collegians are just looking towards our first match against Welkom Rovers.”

Both Collegians and Rovers have a bye in the first round, only starting their campaigns on February 28, while the tournament starts on February 21.

Byes are always welcome, but it is their timing that is important, according to Swanepoel.

“Having a bye first up is both a blessing and a curse. After all the preparation, you want to get the ball rolling, but, on the other hand, you get to see where your opposition are at. Having been personally involved in the old Club Champs, a bye in the middle of the pool stages is really great for recovery, so it’s a tough one to answer,” he said.

Looking to the preseason fixtures, the coach is using them as a gauge for his team’s preparedness.

“We’ll be using them to have a look at our final squads. It also gives us a look at our conditioning and where we are in terms of our structures.”

Durban Collegians’ Community Cup fixtures:

February 28: Durban Collegians vs Welkom Rovers — KP10, Kings Park, Durban. 4 pm.

March 7: Wesbank vs Durban Collegians — Wesbank Sports Grounds, Malmesbury. 4 pm.

March 14: Durban Collegians vs Ferros — KP10, Kings Park, Durban. 4 pm.

March 21: Despatch vs Durban Collegians — W.J. de Wet Stadium, Despatch. 4 pm.

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