Wednesday Club Rugby Column

Bidvest Insurance Crusaders got themselves back on track with a good result against their visitors from Empangeni, Mancosa Zululand Rhinos, last Friday evening winning 50-25 in an entertaining Fidelity Security Premier Division game.

One thing is for certain, besides the marvelous rugby produced by both sides, Crusaders do know how to entertain their guests. Leading 29-13 at the break the Durban North club went on to score eight tries to the three from Rhinos. Crusaders did look a much improved combination after a few earlier disappointing outings and played with a lot more direction. There can be no doubt that they found their rhythm in this game with both sides producing some wonderful running rugby.

Crusaders wing Chris van Niekerk led the charge with three ties while centre Merlyn Pieterse and wing Spha Dube crossed for two each with Wayne Lemley coming off the bench crossing for the eighth touchdown. Flyhalf Denrich Visagie kicked the balance.

Jors Dannhauser the Zukuland Rhinos fullback as always was outstanding, even playing in a losing side, and still remains one of the unluckiest players never to have worn the Sharks strip, which has remained a mystery to this day. The side lost their second game of the season and definitely look destined to secure their place in the Premier Division after an improved start to the 2017 season and coach Charles Mndaweni, now the successful KZNRU and Sharks Development Officer in Zululand, deserves huge credit for the work he has put into the rejuvenated side

The Rhinos replied with tries from two brilliant touchdowns by centre Thokozani Mdluli and the third from Unathi Makhazi with Dannhauser and Derick Venter, coming off the bench, sharing the kicks.

Down the coast eThekwini Refractories Amanzimtoti had an almighty battle on their hands eventually edging out Varsity College 6-0 in possibly the most enthralling game of the season thus far. Picking up a penalty in each half they managed to hold off Varsity College to secure four valuable log points, but it was certainly a close call.

In the other games SA Home Loans Durban Collegians travelled to the capital and beat FNB UKZN Impi 77-21 while Jaguars travelled up the coast to meet Richards Bay losing 50-7 and Newcastle picked up their first win of the season edging out their visitors South Coast Warriors 31-19.

Your Communications College Rovers who had a bye will be hosting a Gala Evening on Friday 2 June paying tribute to all their many Old Boys and passed sponsors that have contributed to their 118 year old club over the years. Auctioneer Ian Wyles will be on hand to auction some splendid memorabilia while former Sharks and Springbok coach, who also coached Rovers, Ian McIntosh and former Natal lock and cricketer Dave Pearse will share the MC duties. They will be joined by later by passed legends of the game for a panel discussion. The evening will end with the popular band Kickstands playing numbers from all the fabulous eras of rugby and music. For further information contact Chris at 031-312 5211 or email chris@rovers.co.za

This weekend sees Rovers at home to Newcastle while their neighbours host the hard men from Richards Bay. The South Coast derby sees Toti entertaining the Warriors while the big intervarsity rugby day between Varsity College and UKZN Impi will see not just rugby sides converging on the Durban North Campus but also many hockey sides as well. In the remaining game Jaguars host Crusaders in Sydenham.

In the First Division Jaguars Land Rover Durban Hillcrest are on a roll and look set to take the honours in the South Section even though they had a bye last week end while Westville their closest rivals beat Ballito Dolphins 43-0 and Durban Mets accounted for Maritzburg Collegians 38-20.

In the Under 20 ‘A’ League Varsity College go to the top of the log after narrowly beating Durban Collegians 15-12 and UKZN beat Crusaders 23-5 and Jaguars had a good away win beating the Warriors 24-17. In the KZNRU Woman’s League front runners College Rovers hammered Midlands 93-12.