WEDNESDAY COLUMN CLUB RUGBY

With the Fidelity Security KZNRU leagues all neatly wrapped up and the trophy’s all nicely polished and put away into their respective trophy cabinets its now time to turn our attention to the knockouts and be introduced to the new sponsors of the oldest club knockout competition in World Rugby The Murray Cup.

The 118th playing of The Murray Cup presented to the KZNRU by its First President Sir TK Murray way back in 1890 kicks of on Saturday and sees Castle Lager the longest serving sponsors of a sporting event in the country being partnered by newcomers Cell C and HiTech Ink in what looks set to be yet another enthralling and exciting competition.

The famous knockout competition now known as the Murray Cup brought to you by HiTech Ink, Cell C and Castle also sees the original seeded draw being reintroduced thus ensuring a far more competitive element to the competition, which can only result in a far more beneficial outcome with that surprise result still very much a strong possibility.

The Top eight sides from the Premier Division will contest the Murray Cup with South Coast Warriors replacing Richards Bay. All the sides playing for the coveted trophy in this years competition, except for South Coast Warriors and Varsity College, have had their name engraved on the historic piece of silverware.

FNB UKZN Impi who have only won the cup on one occasion back in 1930 will be hosting the 2016 knockout champions SA Home Loans Durban Collegians at the Peter Booysen Stadium in Pietermaritzburg. Collegians won the trophy last year after 14 years in the doldrums and will be going all out to defend their title.

The newly crowned Premier Division champions College Rovers will travel to The Douglas Mitchell Park in Uvongo to face South Coast Warriors. Rovers last won the cup in 2015 and will be looking at reclaiming the trophy and no doubt seeking to take the rare double before tackling the National Club Championships.

eThekwini Refractories Amanzimtoti winners of the trophy in 2014 travel to Mick Kelly Park in Empangeni to play their hosts Mancosa Zululand Rhinos the winners against all odds back in 2008, which for the late Hugh Moore was a most memorable season for him and the club.

Finally Bidvest Insurance Crusaders winners of the trophy back in 2003 will host their neighbours Varsity College who have yet to have laid claim to the prized possession. So will this be the year of a new champion or will Collegians be able to retain the historic piece of silverware. Only time will tell

The Premier Division Reserve sides will follow their respective First XV outfits to contest the Peter Taylor knockout trophy while the in the Junior Murray Cup Jaguar Land Rover Durban Hillcrest will be looking at retaining the trophy that they have won for the last two seasons. They open their 2017 campaign against Harlequins out on the Bluff while Durban Mets will host Westville in the other South Section game.

In the North Section Sentraal from Dundee host Newcastle and Piet Retief entertain Vryheid. The Reserves will follow their respective First XV’s to contest the Keith Parkinson Trophy.

In the only club games played over last weekend the opening rounds of the regional Ebbo Bastard Cup were played with the President Of Southern KZN Rugby Sub-Union Dougie Haralambous getting the best possible birthday present he could have ever have wished for with his side beating the Durban Rugby Sub-Union 33-10 while up North the Northern KZN Rugby Sub-Union beat Zululand 53-18