Club Rugby Column

SA Home Loans Durban Collegians and College Rovers have gone through to face each other once again in the final of the Hollywoodbets Murray Cup club rugby knockout competition after resounding wins in the semi-finals played last Friday at the Bidvest Insurance Crusaders Rugby Club in Durban North. It turned out to be a sad night for club rugby with the news that Glenwood Old Boys Rugby Club stalwart Denton O’Maker had passed away a few hours before the kick off. Condolences go out to the family from the Sharks, the KZNRU the DRSU all club players that knew him.

The semis traditionally played on a Saturday saw the semi’s being played on a chilly Friday evening in front of a good appreciative crowd with Collegians hammering FNB UKZN Pietermaritzburg 78-0 while Rovers had the better of Varsity College beating the Durban North outfit 47-12 in an entertaining main game on the night

In the opener Collegians made short work of the students from the capital and had a sizeable 40-0 lead at the break. In essence it was one way traffic but never the less the young Varsity side never gave up trying and to their credit fought on bravely through the 80 minute surge. Collegians hooker Lungelo Mthethwa led the charge with two great tries whilst also being named the Man of the Match. Scrumhalf Matt Seba, No 8 Fanelsibonge Zwane, flank Sibulele Nanto, lock Siyanda Ndlovu, centre Devon Lailvaux coming off the bench and flank Luke Stringer were also among those who crossed the chalk while skipper Jacques Venter playing centre on the night kicked the points with his trusty boot.

In the main game Varsity College came out firing and took an early 12-7 lead after Rovers scrumhalf Grant Williams had initially opened the scoring with try under the sticks. There were a few moments of concern from the Rovers supporters as their side looked out of sorts to begin with as Varsity College controlled matters in the first 20 minutes. However the Rovers juggernaut clicked into gear and from then on in it was all Rovers with Varsity College not adding anymore points on the board for the rest of the match. It was all one way traffic in the end with Rovers playing some attractive entertaining running rugby and scoring seven tries to two.

Varsity College 12 points came by way of tries from centre Kyle Theron and flyhalf Malcolm Cele with scrumhalf Josh Fourie adding a conversion.

For Rovers who led 26-12 at half time Williams led the way with two stunning tries while prop Zuks Nyabaza, No 8 Biselele Tshamala, centre Sandile Kubeka, Hendrik Prinsloo coming off the bench and hooker Sam Swanepoel also crossed for touchdowns. Gav Scott completed the scoring with six conversions. The Rovers flanker Liam O’Conell who had a storming game was named Man of the Match .

The two sides will face each other for the big showdown yet again on Sunday at 3.30 pm at Cusaders in Ranleigh Crescent Durban North in what should be another classic finale to the club season. There will be a full day of knockout rugby starting at 10.40am with the Keith Parkinson Cup First Division Reserves final between Land Rover Durban Hillcrest and Maritzburg Collegians

Ladysmith Bulldogs will come down to face UKZN Durban in the final of the First Division Junior Murray Cup. Durban Collegians have three of their sides in the finals with their Under 20 side playing Varsity College in the Basil Medway knockout final, which will now be played a week later due to the unavailability of players participating in a sevens tournament in Zimbabwe, and their Premier Division second stringers will follow their Firsts to meet Rovers in the final of the Peter Taylor Trophy knockout competition.

In the final of the Findlay Cup played as a curtain raiser to the Currie Cup opener for the Cell C Sharks against the Blue Bulls at Jonsson Kings Park, Henry Honiball was on hand to see his club from Winterton the Drakensberg Rugby Club hold the 92 year old trophy high after beating Harlequins 42-0. The then NRU had presented the trophy to honour the services given to the club game by Archie Findlay who also served as President of the Union.