Wednesday Club Rugby Column

Bidvest Insurance Crusaders will now be looking at the possibilities of finishing in the top three of the Fidelity Security Premier Division, the competition they last won in 1998, after edging out eThekwini Refractories Amanzimtoti 16-13 last Friday evening.

In what was one of two only closely contested games at the weekend the result certainly leaves the log table wide open for the sides following the log leaders SA Home Loans Durban Collegians and College Rovers, who both had huge runaway victories last weekend.

So now with two games left in the First Round its all to play for as the clubs fight it out to stay alive in the top eight and with Rovers and Durban Collegians both unbeaten, the stage is once again set for yet another First Round thriller on Saturday 10 June.

Rovers went on a 16 try spree beating Jaguars 106-10 with Brandon Bailing and Sipho Mkize leading the charge with four tries each while Liam O’Connel collected another two with the rest going to Jarret Crouch, Adam Wessels, Grant Rattray, Mondi Nkosi, Duke Makina and Ricky Bamber with Gavin Scott slotting eight conversions and Cliven Laubscher another five.

Across the way Rovers neighbours Durban Collegians also went on a romp thrashing Mancosa Zululand Rhinos, crippled with so many injuries, 138-7 in a one sided affair. The Zululand clubs injury list was so bad that they had to withdraw their second side from their Wylie Cup game. Mzo Mbona was named Man of the Match while making his debut for the Collegians First XV was the talented Tiegan Erasmus who captained their successful Under 20 side last year.

Across the Umgeni Crusaders outscored their visitors from the South Coast two tries to two in their narrow 16-13 victory with Angelo Minetti and Spa Dube crossing for their tries with Janse ’Bakkies’ van Rensburg kicking a penalty to go with a well executed drop from Dube. Amanzimtoti replied with Chad Fisher on the wing scored the try with Wimpie Pretorius adding the rest with his boot.

In the other closely contested encounter FNB UKZN Impi squeaked home 24-22 in Newcastle keeping their hopes alive for a top eight finish. In the remaining game Richards Bay beat South Coast Warriors 39-12.

This weekend Crusaders host Durban Collegians, Rovers are at home to UKZN Impi, Varsity College travel to Zululand to meet Zululand Rhinos at Mick Kelly Park in Empangeni while Jaguars entertain South Coast Warriors and Richards Bay travel to Newcastle.

Jaguar Land Rover Durban Hillcrest are clear cut favourites to take the South Section First Division crown beating a luckless Maritzburg Collegians outfit 48-0 while Westville won their game against Queenburgh 57-10 and an improved Harlequins line up accounted for Durban Mets 40-10.

Varsity College rule the roost in the Under 20 ‘A’ and ‘B’ Divisions with College Rovers fast gaining ground. Varsity College beat South Coast Warriors 57-5, Rovers thumped Jaguars 88-0 and Durban Collegians beat UKZN 35-6.

The Gala Club function at the home of College Rovers on Friday evening is open to everyone and is a celebration of the club game and with some wonderful prizes up for grabs a special evening is on the cards. With Ian McIntosh, John Allan Butch James, Tera Mtembu Auctioneer Ian Wyles and MC Dave Pearse on hand club rugby camaraderie will be at its very best. With prizes including two night stays at Thula Thula Private Game Reserve, Champagne Castle Hotel, Fordoun in Nottingham Road and the Protea Hluhluwe Hotel for the Game Reserve visitors its well worth an evening of getting to know the importance of keeping the club game alive.