Revamped Varsity run Harlequins close

2008-06-16 00:00

There was a totally different Maritzburg Varsity on display in the Premier Division club rugby match against Harlequins on the Bluff Friday night.

Gone was the uncertainty that characterised the defeat to Crusaders last time out. In its place was a team far more committed who played for each other and pulled together in the demoralising face of an extremely tough season.

Varsity are without a win and entrenched at the bottom of the log, but the character shown by each player and the much tighter defence led to a close finish in which Quins edged out the visitors 14-10.

Coach Richard Bates cited a couple of crucial points that worked against the campus-based team.

“We conceded two soft tries,” said the former Varsity, Wildebeest and London Irish loose forward.

“The first resulted from a lapse in concentration on defence and the second came through a lack of support play.”

This gave Quins a 14-3 half-time lead and although Varsity worked really hard for their try and won the second half 7-0, they were unable to finish their opponents off.

A key factor in Varsity’s better showing was Bates persuading experienced centre/fullback Mike Norton to move to flyhalf for this clash.

Norton marshalled the defence superbly while his decision-making was almost faultless. Another blow for Varsity was the loss of outstanding lock Kobie du Rand to injury at a pivotal time in the match, but there were encouraging performances from probably the player of the season, wing Gareth Borchardt, as well as flank Ralph Bettison, tighthead and captain Derek Clifton plus hooker Tersius Purchase.


Premier Division: College Rovers 29 Durban Collegians 7; Old Boys 26 Crusaders 19; Jaguars 7 Zululand 11; Harlequins 14 Maritzburg Varsity 10.

Reserves: Rovers 15 Collegians 14; Old Boys 18 Saders 11; Jaguars 26 Zululand 36; Maritzburg Varsity awarded walkover against Quins.

U20A: Rovers 38 Durban Collegians 0; Old Boys 20 Crusaders 11; Jaguars 5 Empangeni 45.

U20B: Rovers 25 D Coll 8; Old Boys 12 Crusaders 0.

First Division South Top 5: South Coast 35 Hillcrest 19; PMB Collegians 13 Drakensberg 13.

Reserves: South Coast 28 Hillcrest 7; Collegians 14. Drakensberg 19.

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