Varsity Cup carrot dangles invitingly for Maritzburg campus

2009-08-04 00:00

THE Murray Cup quarterfinals saw College Rovers account for Jaguars 27-6, Zululand upset Crusaders 19-14, Durban Collegians beat Harlequins 33-5 and Old Boys thrash Maritzburg Varsity 61-0 at Riverside just north of the Umgeni River.

The results set up a pair of intriguing semi-finals in this KZN Premier Division competition on Friday evening, with Rovers meeting Zululand and Old Boys in a royal battle against Durban Collegians. The venues for all Friday’s club knockout semi-finals have still to be confirmed.

Meanwhile, Maritzburg Varsity, who qualified to take on Tshwane University of Technology (Tut) in a two-leg promotion/relegation round in order to earn a berth in the popular, televised Varsity Cup, now know the times, dates and venues for these vital matches.

The first-leg scrum-down sees PMB Varsity travel to Pretoria for their August 19 match on Tut’s home ground, kick-off at 7 pm. The return match takes place 10 days later when the PMB Varsity first XV tackle Tut on Saturday, August 29 at 3 pm at the Varsity Rugby Stadium off Golf Road.

The Varsity Cup, which features the top eight university teams in SA, is a carrot dangling under the 98-year-old PMB University club’s nose, as qualification would make it easier for them to attract quality players from outside the KZN capital.

PMB Varsity, however, may only have those new players for the duration of the Varsity Cup, which takes place early in the year. Once it’s over, it may be difficult for the KZN Premier Division’s last-placed team (for the past two years) to keep them.

The problem is the name “Varsity” Cup is a misnomer. The competition’s “rules” are confusing, even to the participants and it seems as long as you are under 25 and signed for Tukkies, Maties or whoever, you don’t even have to be a student.

The Varsity Cup is merely a vehicle by which up-and-coming SA players are “guns for hire”, signing at whatever Varsity that wants them in order to get noticed in the TV matches and hopefully land a contract with the likes of the Lions, Sharks or Bulls.

In the First Division’s Junior Murray Cup quarterfinals, Pietermaritzburg supporters and players were disappointed that Newcastle withdrew from their Woodburn date last Friday night with PMB Collegians. In the other quarterfinals, the Port Shepstone-based South Coast Warriors gained a meritorious 21-6 victory over coastal neighbours Amanzimtoti, while Hillcrest beat Ballito Dolphins 40-7 and First Division North Section winners Vryheid beat Piet Retief, but no score was available.

This Friday evening’s semi-finals see PMB Collegians facing the unenviable task of taking on the rugged Vryheid pack and their hard-running backs, while the South Coast Warriors’ last-four clash against Hillcrest is difficult to wager on.



Murray Cup quarterfinals: College Rovers 27 Jaguars 6; Crusaders 14 Zululand 19; Durban Collegians 33 Harlequins 5; Old Boys 61 Maritzburg Varsity 0.

Reserves — Peter Taylor Trophy quarterfinals: Rovers 46 Jaguars 0; Crusaders 13 Zululand 15; Durban Collegians 23 Harlequins 5; Old Boys 59 Maritzburg Varsity 0.

Junior Murray Cup quarterfinals: Hillcrest 40 Ballito 7; South Coast 21 Amanzimtoti 6; Maritzburg Collegians (walkover) Newcastle; Vryheid beat (no score available) Piet Retief.

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