Last-gasp try heralds new era for Collegians

2011-09-14 00:00

THE 108-year-old Pietermaritzburg Collegians Rugby Club enter a new era following their 16-11 victory over Jaguars in Durban at the weekend. This match, played for promotion to the KZN Premier Division or relegation to First Division, took place in in Sydenham — not an easy place for a visiting team to succeed when so much is at stake.

The runaway KZN First Division champions knew they were in for a battle going into the match with Premier Division wooden spoonists Jaguars and victory was achieved with 30 seconds to spare.

The tensest of promotion/relegation matches saw Collegians trailing 11-9 going into that the last minute when loosehead prop and skipper Blake Kidd crashed over for the winning try right on time for flyhalf Conal Levin to convert.

Kidd is the epitome of a club man and has been in inspirational form, while Levin has hardly put a foot wrong in a long season.

“The character of the side was clear for all to see,” Collegians president Tony Day told The Witness yesterday.

“With all the odds stacked against them Collegians once again emerged victorious. Earlier, what appeared to be a Collegians try was disallowed by a dubious assistant referee’s call on the halfway line.

“To Jaguars players entering the rucks through our gate to the tighthead’s hand going to ground on nearly every scrum, someone did not want us to win this one.”

Collegians’ other points came from three penalties by Juan Myburgh.

“There were men of the match selected, but this victory is due to all the players who have contributed to an amazing year,” said Day. “Without our sponsors none of this would have been possible — our headline sponsors Ricoh Motswako, who have stuck with us for the past six years, as well as Central Waste, Cousins Steel and Dave Bessinger, whose contributions have been invaluable.”

Day also paid tribute to head coach Rinier Bosman, who put his own health second to make the dream come true. It is a remarkable achievement for club that was almost dead and buried just six years ago.

Collegians’ AGM and dinner is on September 30 while pre-season starts on October 3 with training at the Midlands Rugby Academy Gym from 5.30 pm to 7.30 pm Monday to Wednesday. Contact Day at 083 555 2544.

KZN Premier Division champs College Rovers open the defence of their SA Club Champion of Champions title in Stellenbosch from Saturday

Other provincial club champions taking part: Middelburg (Mpumalanga), Noordelike (Limpopo), Brakpan (Valke), hosts Maties (WP), Roses United (Boland), Progress (SWD), Shimlas (Free State), Winter Rose (Border), Park (EP), Kimberley Police (Griquas), UJ (Lions), Tuks or Police (Blue Bulls), Pukke (Leopards).

SA Amateur Provincial Results:

KZN Duikers beat Free State Platteland 32-13, Griquas 27-20 and Orange Free State 65-24. KZN Wildebeest Platteland lost 29-25 to Free State, beat Griquas Platteland 32-20, and beat the Griffons 58-14 in the Plate final.

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