Varsity return victors over Rhinos, Collegians beat Dolphins

2011-06-01 00:00

THERE was good cheer in Pietermaritzburg club rugby circles this weekend as both of the KZN capital’s top teams, Varsity and Collegians, won at first and second team level.

The Varsity first XV were outstanding in their 25-19 victory over Zululand Rhinos at Mick Kelly Park in Empangeni.

The match was won and lost up front. Varsity captain and hooker Justin Meanwell led the side superbly against what is always an in-your-face Rhinos pack, while loose forward Andre Greyvenstein was in first-class form. Scrumhalf Calvin Channing, who came in for the indisposed, regular number nine, Zander Engelbrecht, also had a very good outing for the campus-based side.

A noteworthy statistic is that Varsity Coach Beans Bateman has three of his former Maritzburg College first XV captains in this Varsity pack. The Varsity mentor was the head coach at College for a number of years and Meanwell, Greyvenstein and fellow loose forward Leon Stevens were all captains of his teams there.

“In all my years of coaching club rugby I have learnt that winning in Empangeni is never easy, so I am proud of the team for the way they played in what was an important match for us,” Bateman said.

Indeed it was.

Varsity had suffered three successive defeats in their opening three KZN Premier Division matches of the season and on each occasion, barring perhaps their solid yet losing effort against SA and KZN club champions College Rovers in atrocious weather, there was a feeling that they had let themselves down, with mistakes coming at crucial times.

“The spirit in this team is very good,” said Bateman. And that is what kept Meanwell’s boys on track, knowing that it was just a matter of time before the tide turned.

A superb win at Crusaders in Durban North has now been coupled with victory over the Rhinos, and it has stood Varsity in good stead going into the return encounter at Rovers over the weekend.

Meanwhile, PMB Collegians beat a combative Ballito Dolphins 20-9 at a bitterly cold Woodburn last Friday night.

“Some key players were out and it wasn’t pretty, but we scored four tries and got the bonus point, which is what we wanted,” said Collegians chairperson Tony Day.

The win has to all intents and purposes ensured that Collegians will win the KZN First Division South league competition. It also ensures that they can afford to rest key players in the remaining matches ahead of the crunch KZN First Division final against north section winners Vryheid.

Collegians lost by a whisker in the title showdown in Empangeni last year, but there is a growing feeling that not even those hardy, no-nonsense upcountry lads will be able to spoil their party this time round.

The final is held later this season.


Premier Division: DBN Collegians 23 College Rovers 24; Crusaders 17 Old Boys 35; Zululand Rhinos 19 UKZN Pietermaritzburg 25; Jaguars 16 Harlequins 40. Reserves: DBN Collegians 11 College Rovers 18; Crusaders 14 Old Boys 60; Zululand Rhinos 21 UKZN Pietermaritzburg 33. First Division South (Top 5): Amanzimtoti 41 Hillcrest 14; Maritzburg Collegians 20 Ballito Dolphins 9. Reserves: Amanzimtoti 23 Hillcrest 24; Maritzburg Collegians 32 Ballito Dolphins 3.

U20A – Midweek: Empangeni 17 College Rovers 0; Crusaders 16 DBN Collegians 14. Weekend. Crusaders 14 Old Boys 31; DBN Collegians 21 College Rovers 34.

U20B: Empangeni 30 College Rovers 24; South Coast Warriors 13 Harlequins 17.

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