Maritzburg Varsity rugby club rises from the ashes

2010-02-12 00:00

NOT three months ago, Maritzburg Varsity rugby club looked on the verge of folding.

A couple of horrible seasons had seen the first XV finish last in the tough KZN Premier Division, and the last surviving PMB rugby club in premier rugby was lacking in player depth and quality to the extent that continuing seemed pointless.

Talk of a midlands Premier Division club drawn from the big three in PMB, Varsity, Collegians and Waratahs (now PMB Elephants), was serious and plans were in place, but a couple of people refused to lie down.

The 99-year-old club had two champions in Varsity sports officer Reggie Smith and first XV captain (now club secretary) Shane le Breton, who began rebuilding.

Finance was secured from the university, scholarships and bursaries were offered, rugby house digs were established, sponsors and old boys came on board, and a major revamp of the Varsity Rugby Stadium in the Peter Booysen Sports Park off Golf Road was put in place.

To date, over R500 000 has been spent in getting all these building blocks in line with a vision established by a dynamic new committee under chairman Johan Riekert — and the results are eye-popping.

The splendid new Varsity facilities at their clubhouse were opened yesterday evening, and the player recruitment programme has drawn 32 quality players to the club.

Some of the names are prop Marc Colia, who captained Natal Schools and has represented Italy U20; prop Kurt Schonurt, who has been involved in the Sharks U21 side, as well as having a brief stint with Auckland in their NPC squad; hooker Shaq Tshabalala, who was selec­ted for the Wildebeest squad; flyhalf Peter Grunow, who represented champions College Rovers; ex-Maritzburg College captain and hooker Justin Meanwell; Zimela Khoza, a three-season Natal U21 player; TC Khoza of Natal U21 and the Wildebeest squad, plus a promising lock from Underberg, Gerhard Fourie, who went through the Sharks Academy and played for Rovers first XV.

Other highly regarded players well known to Natal rugby followers, and who are sure to figure in the plans of head coach Dylan Campbell and technical consultants Beans Bateman and Ryno Combrink are Malusi Zuma, Matthew Boylan, Olaf Eggers, Brad Mullis, Leon Stevens, Samuel Borsah, Garren Holdsworth, Jono van Rensburg, Absolom Mumba, Leonard Mabija, Kyle Noel, Rory Bremner, Travis Butler and Lwazi Ncgungama.

Le Breton said other exciting signings from outside the province, who are currently playing Varsity Cup rugby, have still to be confirmed.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.