FIDELITY ADT CLUB RUGBY WEDNESDAY COLUMN

In what was yet another classic club rugby game College Rovers edged out SA Home Loans Durban Collegians 27-25 in what can be best described as a great advert for Club Rugby. There can be no doubt that games as epic as what we saw last Friday evening between these two top clubs from the KZNRU, whose rivalries go way back 1906, should be at least televised. In essence, it was a rugby spectacle out the top draw.

It was Durban Collegians that raced away in the early stages of the game and to most of Rovers ardent supporters, it was understandable that they thought it was going to be their sides first league loss in two years. It was not to be however for after leading 19-5 and Rovers down to 14 men after one of their players was red carded they showed true resilience and character to come back and trailed 19-12 at the break.

The second half proved to be the most enthralling 40 minutes of club rugby this season, but then these two sides have always produced classic contests of the highest order. Rovers lifted themselves in the second half to draw level and at 19 all it was game on before Rovers edged closer to a win with a 24-22 lead with the bonus point secured. Collegians in typical fighting spirit edged ahead once again and with the minutes ticking away looked set for victory with a 25-24 lead only for Rovers fly half Inny Radeba to slot over a match winning drop goal to take the game 27-25 and finish their Fidelity ADT Premier Division league off on a high and retain the Moor Cup.

What made their victory al that more complete was the fact that they had played with 14 men for most of the game whilst still managing to score four tries to three with wing Sergio Torrens crossing for another two and remaining the leagues top try scorer. Their other tries came from center Brandon Bailing and loose forward Mesuli Mncwango with Radeba converting two to go with his match winning drop goal.

Durban Collegians replied with tries from fullback Duraan Krummeck, flyhalf Duncan Campbell and Sibulela Nanto while center Devon Lailvaux was successful with two conversions.

In the other game last Friday evening Bidvest Insurance Crusaders finished third in the league behind Collegians after beating eThekwini Refractories Amanzimtoti 19-3 and on Saturday FNB UKZN Pietermarizburg edged out Standard Bank Richards Bay 25-24 to end their league season on a high.

The First Division also drew to a close last Saturday with Westville Old Boys taking the double in the all North versus South Final winning the Brian Irvine Cup and the magnificent Dewar Shield. Westville hosted a great afternoon of rugby with their second stringers beating Piet Retief from the North Section 15-12 in a closely contested final to take the Brian Irvine Cup and will have their name added to the Dewar Shield for the first time in the history of the trophy after disposing Volksrust 29-7.

Piet Retief and Volksrust need to be applauded for their contribution in the afternoon’s display of Fisrt Division Rugby and for taking time out to travel the distances that they did to help make the day a most memorable one.

The Holliwoodybets Murray Cup knockout draw took place on Monday evening and  in the qualifying rounds 2019 Premier Division winners College Rovers will travel to Winterton to play, first timers in the competition,    Drakensburg at Bennett Park, while league runners up Durban Collegians travel the furthest into the hinterland to face the 1955 winners of the oldest rugby competition in World Rugby, Volksrust.

Crusaders will play FNB  UKZN Durban at Howard College, Varsity College travel to Newcastle to face the Highlanders, Amanzimtoti travel to Douglas Mitchell Park to face South Coast Warriors and UKZN Pietermaritzburg  travel to Vryheid , Richards Bay will play Piet Retief in the heart of timberland and Westville, also first timers, play Jaguar Land Rover Durban Hillcrest at Shongweni.