Wednesday Club Rugby Column

The club rugby Flya Knockout tournament produced some entertaining rugby at the home of Bidvest Insurance Crusaders in Ranleigh Crescent, Durban North last Friday evening. The tournament started off on a sad note with the news that one of the KZNRU’s favourite sons Tubby Hanneford, who represented his province on 52 occasions after making his debut in 1970, had passed away that afternoon

In the opening Pool ‘A’ game eThekwini Refractories Amanzimtoti once again proved beyond doubt that they will be an enormously competitive outfit this season when they narrowly lost out to Your Communications College Rovers  going down 20-13 in a gruelling game that saw Rovers having to desperately defend their line at the death to save the game.

With a no quarter given from either side it was Rovers who crossed the line first for an early five point lead. The South Coast Terriers were not to be out done and soon responded with a try of their own and in hindsight had their goal kicking had been a lot more successful the result could well have gone the other way.

In the end it was Rovers who outscored Toti three tries to two with their tries going to Bei Tshamala, Grant Rattray and Matt Phillips with Gavin Scott slotting a penalty and a conversion. Amanzimtoti replied with tries from Matt McDonald and Ryno Els to go with one penalty.

In the other Pool ‘A’ game hosts Crusaders looked a lot more structured and motivated than in their last outing against SA Home Loans Durban Collegians at the Ronnie van Rooyen Memorial day out on the Bluff where they went down 40-21 a week earlier. This time around the Durban North club, two time winners of the National Club Championships, turned their ship around to beat Durban Collegians 24-17.

Undoubtedly the more entertaining of the two Pool ‘A’ games both sides showed some nice touches with Crusaders three tries coming from William Holder, Spa Dube and Davie Visagie while Bakkies Janse van Rensburg kicked the Balance. Collegians replied with two tries of their own from Wade Elliott and Robbie Harris.

In the Pool ‘B’ games Jaguars edged out Mancosa Zululand Rhinos 14-9 and First Division club side Harlequins caused quite a stir holding Varsity College for most of the first half to eventually go down 19-5 but certainly making it quite evident that they want to get their club back into Premier Division.

On Friday Rovers will meet the hosts Crusaders in the Pool ‘A’ final and in the Pool ‘B’ final Fidelity Security Jaguars will play Varsity College the games kicking off at 6.30pm.

Across the Umgeni College Rovers Under 20 ‘A’ and their visitors from Port Shepstone, South Coast Warriors stood for a minutes silence before their Frank Norris Cup league game in rememberence Of Tubby Hanneford who had started his rugby career at Rovers in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

Rovers went on to beat Warriors 44-5 while their neighbours Durban Collegians hammered Jaguars 99-12. There will be a full evening of Frank Norris Cup Under 20 rugby league games hosted by Varsity College this evening (Wednesaday) with Durban Collegians up against Crusaders while home side Varsity College entertain College Rovers and UKZN play Jaguars.

On Saturday The Eshowe RFC will host the 71st Bozas Cup with nine clubs joining Eshowe in what has become known as one of the most unique rugby tournaments in the game. Joining the hosts will be Zululand sides Mandini, Richards Bay, Empangeni, 2015 winners Esikhawini, Hluhluwe, UnIzul and Ushaka Warriors together with The Green Bottled Ballies from Hillcrest and Crusaders Top Guns. Thanks to Graham Chennells of the George Hotel for the accommodation