Jaguars’ defeat boosts PMB Varsity’s confidence

2010-05-26 00:00

COACHES Dylan Campbell and Beans Bateman agreed that the five points earned from Maritzburg Varsity’s 24-7 defeat of Jaguars will give the KZN Premier Division side much needed confidence.

It’s been a frustrating season in which Varsity have come within seven points of defeating every opponent bar one, Durban Collegians, while Bateman said the loss to champions and log-leaders College Rovers in Durban was particularly disappointing after the students had dominated.

It was an untidy match at Varsity on Saturday, not surprising considering the Jaguars squad’s combative, in-your-face style, but there were two or three patches of good rugby that suggested the injury-depleted campus club are about to turn the corner.

Flank T.C. Khoza scored Varsity’s first two tries after a series of strong mauls by the students’ pack, before scrumhalf Rory Bremner stole around the blind side to make it 17-0.

A big score was in the offing, but the Jaguars and under coach and former Sharks, Cardiff and Springbok centre Pieter Muller weren’t about to throw in the towel and flyhalf Sphathisweni Dube slipped a tackle to slice through for 17-7 at half-time.

For two-thirds of the game Varsity were particularly guilty of not protecting the ball and holding on too long, both up front and among the backs, and it took inside centre Ralph Eggers’ fine second-half touchdown from 35 metres to settle the match.

The much anticipated debut of English Premiership player Chris Micklewood of Newcastle Falcons this Saturday is against Old Boys at Riverside Sports Club. The fullback/flyhalf’s presence alone should count for much.

American utility back Brendan Gray, a recent U.S. Eagles World Cup squad call-up, impressed at No. 10 against Jaguars and his flair, coupled with Micklewood’s professionalism and the advent of five or six Varsity players returning from injury, suggests that at the very least, hooker and captain Justin Meanwell’s team will stretch the Durban North side.

Rovers are four points ahead of second-placed Durban Collegians at the KZN Premier Division season’s halfway stage. Varsity have pulled nine points clear of Jaguars and have a massive points difference advantage on the last-placed Sydenham team.

First Division South log leaders PMB Collegians suffered their first defeat of the season, a 27-21 loss against the South Coast Warriors in Port Shepstone. Douglas Mitchell Park is never easy, and at the end of the first round the narrow defeat is the only setback Collegians have experienced against their championship rivals.

The Top Five round, which sees these teams play each other in the return match, begins this Saturday. Collegians lead the Top Five by three points and a 55 points difference advantage over second-placed South Coast, with Hillcrest, Amanzimtoti and Ballito in their wake. Collegians have a bye this weekend, with the “battle of the south coast” between the Warriors and Toti in Port Shepstone likely to be no place for the squeamish.

There was a morale-boosting 18-10 win for PMB Elephants against home side Kokstad to go ahead of Durban Varsity and into sixth place, ahead of the students, Kokstad and Wentworth.

Coach Steve Botha said the Maritzburg U20A side took on high-flying Empangeni at Woodburn last Wednesday evening.

The injury-weakened PMB side took an early lead, but eventually went down 49-3 in a match where they showed great courage under heavy fire. PMB had a walkover against Ja­guars to take five points and a deserved rest.

Maritzburg meet Old Boys at Riverside tomorrow and, whatever the result, are assured of sixth spot ahead of last-placed Crusaders and Jaguars.


Premier Division: Old Boys 13 College Rovers 34; Dbn Coll 12 Crusaders 10; Zululand 23 Harlequins 33; PMB Varsity 24 Jaguars 7. Reserves: Old Boys 8 College Rovers 33; Dbn Coll 22 Crusaders 16; Zululand 71 Harlequins 14; PMB Varsity 64 Jaguars 13. First Div South: South Coast 27 PMB Collegians 21; Toti 13 Hillcrest 34; Dbn Var 3 Ballito 72; Kokstad 10 PMB Elephants 18. Reserves: South Coast 43 PMB Collegians 29; Toti 20 Hillcrest 24; Ballito (walkover) DBN Var; Kokstad 18 PMB Elephants 32. U20A: (Wednesday) Pietermaritzburg 3 Empangeni 49; D Coll (walkover) Saders; OB 37 Rov 37; Empangeni 27 Quins 18; Pietermaritzburg (walkover) Jags. U20B: Pietermaritzburg B 13 South Coast A 29. U20C: Maritzburg C 64 Wentworth A 5.


Saturday – Prem Div (3.30 pm): Rovers vs Quins; Old Boys vs PMB Varsity; DBN Coll vs Zululand; Saders vs Jags. Reserves: 2 pm. First Div South Top Five (3.30 pm): South Coast vs Toti; Hillcrest vs Ballito. U20A Div (2 pm unless stated): Rovers vs Quins; DBN Coll vs Empangeni; Saders vs Jags; Old Boys vs Pietermaritzburg (3.30pm). U20B (3.30 pm unless stated): Old Boys B vs Pietermaritzburg B (2 pm); Rovers B vs Quins B; DBN Coll B vs Toti. U20C: Old Boys C vs PMB Varsity A; PMB Collegians vs Empangeni B (3.30 pm Woodburn 2).

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