Impi and Collegians face daunting challenges in Durban

2013-04-26 00:00

THE University of KwaZulu-Natal Impi face the biggest challenge of the season to date when they travel to Ranleigh Crescent in Durban North tomorrow for a 3.30 pm date with Crusaders. They are currently enjoying the spot on top of the KZN Premier Division log.

The early-year Varsity Shield campaign provided the perfect platform for the Impi in terms of preparation for the province’s top league and gave them the advantage over their domestic opponents, who had far less game time going into the KZN Premier Division season.

After three rounds and wins over Maritzburg Collegians (32-24), Harlequins (57-5) and Zululand Rhinos (27-8), the Impi have earned a full complement of three bonus points. They scored four tries or more in each match and top the log with 15 points (points difference 84) from perennial champions College Rovers, who also have 15 points but a PD of 75.

Crusaders lie in fifth place but only lost by nine points to the strong Durban Collegians side, who currently lie in third spot, and by 11 points to Rovers, while they beat sixth-placed PMB Collegians 38-10 last time out.

In short, the Impi have had a much softer entry into the league campaign than Saders. It could well take a special performance from the PMB-based club to beat the men from Durban North on their own turf. Even more so as new Pretoria signings Cameron Dunlop (Tuks) and Zandre Grobler (Tshwane University of Technology) will likely be in their ranks.

Winless PMB Collegians, meanwhile, have another daunting task on their hands when they face Rovers in Durban. Apart from the defeat to the Impi, the men in red, black and white gave the fourth-placed, ambitious Varsity College line-up a run for their money in Durban before losing 27-23. And last Friday came the defeat to Saders at a soggy Woodburn, a slow start the contributory reason for the loss.

Like the Impi, Rovers are taking time to slip into fifth gear. Both sides are operating nowhere near optimum form in this eight-team league, yet the champions have victories over last-placed Quins (58-10), the seventh-placed Rhinos (35-19) and Saders (38-27).

It will be a hugely challenging afternoon for Collegians. But — and it’s a big ask — if they keep their discipline, minimise unforced errors and try and stay with the pace that Rovers will set while not losing their structure and focus, they might surprise themselves.

Much the same will apply to the Impi just a few kilometres up the road.


Tomorrow – KZN Prem Div (3.30 pm): College Rovers vs PMB Collegians; Durban Collegians vs Harlequins; Crusaders vs UKZN Impi; Zululand Rhinos vs Varsity College. KZN Prem Reserves (2 pm).

KZN First Div South (3.30 pm): UKZN Durban vs Richards Bay; Ballito Dolphins vs Amanzimtoti; South Coast Warriors vs Westville Old Boys; Hillcrest vs Jaguars.

KZN First Div South Reserves (2 pm). KZN U20A Div (2 pm unless stated): Rovers vs UKZN Durban; Durban Collegians vs Harlequins; Crusaders vs UKZN Maritzburg; Jaguars vs Varsity College (3.30 pm).

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