Varsity facing wooden spoon again

2009-06-10 00:00

THE midlands region’s only Premier Division team, Maritzburg Varsity, took another heavy defeat over the weekend with a 57-6 pummelling at the hands of Crusaders in Durban North.

And yet again, Varsity more or less held their own in the first half. Indeed, quite often they have been just a try or so behind, able to mix it with strong club sides in the first 40 minutes, but their opponents have completely overwhelmed them in the second.

Primarily it is due to a major lack of depth. The amateur Varsity club are trying to bring players down from Durban to shore up their ranks, but the difficulties are apparent against the semi-professional teams from Durban.

College Rovers (33 points) lead the Premier Division by four points from Durban Collegians and six points from third-placed Old Boys. Crusaders follow in fourth spot, marginally ahead of Zululand. Some distance further back lie Harlequins, while second-last Jaguars have 10 points and last-placed PMB Varsity just four points.

In First Division South, the winners play against the winners up in Northern KZN for the title and the right to challenge the Premier Division wooden spoonists in a promotion/relegation match.

Amanzimtoti are frontrunners on 51 points from defending champs Hillcrest (46 points), the South Coast Warriors from Port Shepstone (41) and fourth-placed PMB Collegians (34) with PMB Waratahs third-last.

However, Toti do not have four teams. Unless the rules change, they are thus ineligible to play Varsity. This does not present a problem to second-placed Hillcrest, though, or South Coast Warriors.

Last season Hillcrest gave Pietermaritzburg Varsity the closest run possible in the promotion/relegation match at the Varsity Stadium, but the campus-based club, just two years away from what would be a memorable celebration of 100 years in rugby, saved their Premier Division status by the slimmest of margins.

What might save Varsity is the reportedly woeful situation at Jaguars.

They are battling to fulfil their fixtures, which might count against them more than if Varsity finish last.

Two teams doing well are Midlands U20A and B. Both recorded wins against Crusaders and the A side lie fifth in the eight-team Frank Norris Trophy with the B team second in U20B’s King’s Park Challenge Cup.

Midlands B meet South Coast at 3.30 pm Saturday at Woodburn in the knockout quarterfinals, while the A team travel to Harlequins for their last-eight encounter.

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