PMB Varsity hopingto stop Crusaders’ march

2010-07-07 00:00

AFTER the month and a bit of the Ebbo Bastard senior and Philip Nel U21 inter-sub- union, club rugby players turn their attention back to the league season, which has undergone a break during the Fifa World Cup in order to free the King’s Park precinct of extra traffic caused by rugby practices and matches.

Pietermaritzburg’s only KZN Premier Division team, PMB Varsity, return to the fray against high-riding Crusaders of Durban North in a much-relished return match at 3.30 pm on Saturday, at Varsity Stadium in the Peter Booysen Sports Park off Golf Road.

Saders (30 points) lie third on the log, and while defending champions College Ro­vers (42) and second-placed Durban Collegians (38) are pretty much out of sight with five matches left in the competition, the boys from Ranleigh Crescent will have their work cut out in preserving their position at season-end in the face of a strong challenge from neighbours across the suburb, Riverside Sports Club’s Old Boys combination (29 points).

In essence, the log table is split into four parts, with Rovers and Durban Collegians in one group, while Saders and Old Boys are in the next. Harlequins and Zululand (both 15 points), as well PMB Varsity (10) make up the third bunch with the sad sight of club Jaguars still winless and point-less at the bottom.

Varsity administrator and second team captain Shane le Breton, who starts on the subs’ bench for the first XV, told The Witness yesterday that the squad were geared up at practice on Monday night and looking forward to the preparation for Saturday’s big clash against a side that they so nearly beat in the first round.

A worry has been the countless Varsity try-scoring opportunities frittered away in their opponents’ 22. Those dropped passes, turnovers at mauls a metre or two out, coupled with the odd moment of madness, have been the difference between winning instead of losing six of their eight defeats.

Assuming a reasonable 50% had gone Varsity’s way, the 12 extra log points would see the campus side lying fifth instead of second to last in the eight-team competition.

The last five league mat­ches will hopefully see head coach Dylan Campbell, his assistant Beans Bateman, and captain Justin Meanwell and team not having to suffer the same disappointment.

In the KZN First Division South top five, PMB Collegians are well placed to challenge the First Division North winners, who will undoubtedly be Vryheid, for the title at season end – and a crack at promotion if they so wish.

Captain Charl Bezuidenhout and team are a point behind South Coast, but have a game in hand. Hillcrest, the only other contenders, are four behind Collegians after the same game time.

Collegians travel to Ballito for a 4 pm kick-off. The Dolphins will be fired-up in their first match at their new Ashton College headquarters and Collegians coach Renier Bosman must emphasise to his team that the business end of the season only starts now. Absolute commitment and focus is imperative for Collegians’ title chances.

Midlands Marauders were thumped by Durban in their last Ebbo Bastard match in Amanzimtoti at the weekend, while there was a good win for Marauders U21.


Saturday - KZN Premier Division (3.30 pm): PMB Varsity vs Crusaders; Rovers vs Zululand; Old Boys vs Dbn Coll; Harlequins vs Jags. Reserves: 2 pm. First Div South Top Five: Ballito vs PMB Collegians (4.30 pm); Hillcrest vs South Coast Warriors. Reserves: curtain-raiser.

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