Rovers and Crusaders showdown

2012-08-22 00:00

COLLEGE Rovers will meet Crusaders in the final of the Castle Murray knockout competition next Saturday.

Rovers beat Durban Collegians 33-6 in the weekend’s opening semi-final at Riverside, while Crusaders disposed of Zululand Rhinos 20-13.

Rovers, who will be hoping to secure their fourth consecutive double, will clearly start out as favourites after making short work of Collegians, their closest rivals and runners-up in the Premier Division league.

Collegians held them well in the first half and it was only a late try by Rovers centre Kobus de Kock that separated the two sides at the break, with the 2011 title holders holding a narrow 13-6 lead.

Rovers were a lot more cohesive in the second half and a sensational intercept try by the man of the match — selected by former Springbok loose forward A.J. Venter — wing Jors Dannhauser, really killed off the brave Collegians challenge, with the holders of the 122-year-old trophy slowly but surely grinding their way to yet another victory, albeit not all that convincing in the end.

Dannhauser went on to score 18 points with two conversions and three penalties to go with his try, while De Kock added another conversion with their talented utility back Neil de Bruin adding a superb drop goal, and centre Nick Jackson scoring the final try in the closing minutes.

The Collegians line-up were frustrated with some of the refereeing decisions, but in the end their points came from two penalties from flyhalf Ruan Allerton.

In the other semi-final, Crusaders edged out Rhinos in a much closer and hard-fought contest that could well have gone either way. Crusaders eventually outscored the 2008 Murray Cup champions side by two tries to one. It was a match that saw Saders back in the mix after they nearly folded at the beginning of the season.

Their tries came from hooker Zandre Grobelaar and scrumhalf Kegan Sloman, with fullback Armand Botha kicking two penalties and two conversions. Rhinos replied with a try from Karli Schulze, and two penalties and a conversion from flyhalf Sello Sekhyala. Crusaders prop Ronnie Uys was named man-of-the-match.

In the Peter Taylor trophy Premier Division Reserves knockout competition, Rovers beat Collegians 43-12 in their semi-final game and will be looking at retaining the double when they face Crusaders in the final, after they beat Rhinos 49-38 in the second semi-final.

Maritzburg Collegians had a narrow 20-17 win over Maritzburg Varsity in the Junior Murray Cup knockout and will travel to Durban to face Newcastle Highlanders at finals day at Riverside next Saturday.

Piet Retief pulled out of the semi-finals, allowing the Highlanders the opportunity of contesting the final in the hope of winning some KZNRU silverware for the first time in their history.

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