Ebbo Bastard Trophy on the table again

2008-08-28 00:00

FRIDAY night sees the return of the Ebbo Bastard Trophy club rugby competition, this time at the Douglas Mitchell grounds in Port Shepstone.

Midlands first XV meet their Southern KZN counterparts at 8.30 pm in a bid to get their Ebbo Bastard campaign back on track, while the respective U21 sub-union teams tackle each other in the 7 pm kick-off.

The competitions involved Friday night are for a stake in the outcome of the inter sub-unions battles that involve South KZN, Midlands, Northern KZN, Durban and Zululand.

Midlands first XV plumbed new depths in their last encounter, a near-farcical affair with upcountry rivals North KZN. It was not the performance of the Midlands eight, but rather the rank ineptness of the backline that drew groans of frustration from the meagre crowd of Woodburn faithful.

Midlands’ pack dominated all facets, but the backs stumbled and bumbled as countless try-scoring opportunities were left on the table in a painful 31-15 defeat to the men from Vryheid, Newcastle and surrounds.

So, the competitiveness of the forwards in the capital city is not in question, as they have generally held their own in their respective club leagues – Maritzburg Varsity being the lone PMB Premier Division offering, and Waratahs and Collegians in the First Division.

However, in the last 12 years of monitoring the best — and more frequently in recent times, the worst — club rugby from the windy stands in the cold PMB winters, there has seldom been such a paucity of backline skills. The faithful have long tried to put a finger on this throughout a dreary winter for PMB club rugby supporters, but it is difficult to know where to start when one sees, week in and week out, the same technical flaws from the same players.

Let us be clear: this is not an “attack” on backline player effort or commitment, but a concern borne out of shared frustration by faithful supporters that nothing seems to be changing.

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