Wednesday Column CLUB RUGBY

In the first big upset of the 2017 Gold Cup the 2016 National Club Champions Newrak Rustenburg Impala were given a rude awakening by the little known Pumas outfit Sasol Hydra Ark Secunda 32-29 last Saturday. Clearly not an easy venue to play in, Secunda will bring back nightmares to the two time champion club side, that is for certain.

The Puma champions are now top in their Pool ‘A’ after two rounds with Impala still in the mix having collected two valuable bonus points in the game. Willa Martin led the Sasol charge with two tries with Jannie van de Merwe, Pieter Streicher and Berty Visser collecting the others. Van de Merwe added the rest of the points with his trusty boot.

Impala replied with tries by Dumisana Matyeshana who crossed the chalk twice, Jaco Fourie and Leon du Plessis with Cecil Dumond adding the kicks. In the other Pool ‘A’ game Wesizwe Vereeniging opened their campaign with a 48-32 victory over Recall Security Bloemfontein.

Go Nutz College Rovers had a bye last weekend with last years runners up Direct Axis False Bay now leading their Pool ‘D’ after another good win last Saturday beating the Griquas champion club the iron men from IMT Sishen 35-25 away from home in Kathu while Roses United, the Boland champions who face Rovers this coming weekend, beat Western Suburbs from Windhoek 43-24.

If scores are anything to go on and you compare the winning scores of Roses United and Rovers against Western Suburbs, Roses cant be a shabby side so the KZNRU champions are in for quite a battle on Saturday with the game kicking off at 12.30pm at the home of Rovers on KP 3.

The results from Pool ‘B’ gave every indication that the newly formed club representing the Blue Bulls from Pretoria, Quins Bobbies RFC are going to be a side to watch after they thumped Speedy Car Sales Vaal Reefs 54-10 while in the other game Northam Platinum Rhinos accounted for Old Georgians from Harare 45-26.

In Pool C Progress George the South Western Districts champions edged out the Western Province Wild Cards Tygerberg 17-15 and the Border Wild Cards Swallows raised a few eyebrows picking up their second win squeaking home 27-26 against Progress Uitenhague.

This weekend’s fixtures are as follows:

Pool ‘A’: Vereeniging vs Sasol; Rustenburg Impala vs Welkom

Poo ‘B’: Old Georgians vs QBR; Raiders vs Northam Platinum Rhinos

Pool ‘C’: Swallows vs Progress George; Old Selbornians vs Progress Uitenhague

Pool ‘D’ College Rovers vs Roses United; Western Suburbs vs Sishen

Meanwhile locally the KZNRU are to be applauded for going ahead with the Sharks Clubs XV game after the National Provincial Club competition was unfortunately cancelled. The side will meet a Platteland XV on 14 October and if some of the players seen in action at Bennett Park in Winterton the home of the Drakensberg Rugby Club against the SA Rugby Legends last Saturday the Platteland XV will certainly be a useful combination.

When one considers that players like Brandon Bailing Carl Marks and Dylan Nel have all had exposure playing for the Sharks Club XV and haven been given the recognition at a higher level with Bailing having now been capped for the Sharks Nel for the Crusaders in New Zealand and Marks on a contract in Hong Kong it is important to keep the club players interest in the game at an all time high.

The team is made up of players from SA Home Loans Durban Collegians, Bidvest Insurance Crusaders, eThekwini Refractories Amanzimtoti, Varsity College and Jaguar Land Rover Durban Hillcrest Villagers with Jacques Deen from Durban Collegians as head coach and assisted by Dusty Noble from Crusaders and Kevin Van Rensburg from Amanzimtoti. The Manager is Sabela Nkosi with Biokineticest Mosipho Mkhwangazi and Physio Sumeshen Moodley all from UKZN Durban. Juno Fourie is the convener and organizer of the game which is so important in keeping the club game alive.