WEDNESDAY COLUMN CLUB RUGBY

The Murray Cup presented this year by HiTech Ink, Cell C and Castle Lager, has always through the years somehow managed to bring the best out of clubs none more so than the quarter final between hosts Bidvest Insurance Crusaders and their neighbours Varsity College which saw the visitors edge out their hosts 36-35 in an absolute thriller last Saturday.

Varsity College have improved in leaps and bounds this season but no one could have forecast the inspirational performance from Crusaders who were understrength on the day with so many of their regular First XV players out with injuries.

It was a game that changed regularly in the first half and eventually saw Varsity College leading 17-16 at half time after Saders had taken an early 16-10 lead. The second half saw Crusaders produce some of the best rugby that they have played all season.

Varsity College looked in control going into the second half and were quick to add points. With an early 25-16 lead it looked as though they were going to eventually run away with the game but Crusaders refused to lie down and with Varsity College holding onto a 29-23 lead running into the last quarter it was anyone’s game. With the minutes ticking away Varsity College seemed to have sealed the game leading 36-26 before Crusaders finished with a flourish and almost securing a famous victory almost on time. It was not to be but the hosts deserved huge credit for making a game of it.

Wing George Kwashie led the Varsity College charge with three fine tries with the others going to Kyle Theron, Ray Williams and Njabulo Zondi with Duran Krummeck kicking the balance. For Crusaders Selwyn White crossed for two with the others going to Chris van Niekerk and Siyabonga Ncgobo. ‘Bakkies’ Janse van Rensburg with a great kicking performance so nearly won the game for Saders kicking four conversions and three penalties.

Up in Pietermaritzburg SA Home Loans Durban Collegians beat FNB UKZN Impi 59-5 while at Mick Kelly Park in Empangeni the home side Mancosa Zululand Rhinos where beaten 54-13 by eThekwini Refractories Amanzimtoti.

Down in Uvongo College Rovers scrumhalf Grant Williams led the try scoring spree with three touchdowns while centre Brandon Bailing and wing Tythan Adam also crossed for two each in their 78-14 victory march over South Coast Warriors.

This Saturday sees Rovers up against Varsity College and Toti facing Durban Collegians in the Semi-Finals at the home of Crusaders at Durban North. The second stringers will follow their First XV with Rovers up against Varsity College and Amanzimtoti set to challenge the Peter Taylor Trophy holders Durban Collegians.

In the Junior Murray Cup there was the first upset of the knockout competitions with Durban Mets beating Westville Old Boys 26-24. They will go on to meet Jaguar Land Rover Durban Hillcrest who also had a narrow escape in edging out Harlequins 20-14 out on the Buff in their quarter-final.

Up North Vryheid will host Newcastle Highlanders in their semi-final after Vryheid thumped Piet Retief 43-17 and Newcastle accounted for Sentraal from Dundee in their respective quarter-final games.

Proceedings start at 11.40am on Saturday at the home of Crusaders in Ranleigh Crescent Durban North with College Rovers Under 20 up against UKZN in the first of the Basil Medway Knockout Under 20 Trophy semi-final games on the Crusaders No 1 field followed by Hillcrest up against Durban Mets in the Junior Murray Cup semi-final at 13.20pm. With games going on all day on both fields it will be a full day of Club Rugby at its very best with an added bonus at 3pm with the Sharks Under 19 playing their visitors from Bloemfontein, the Cheetahs.

On Saturday 19 August The Kwa Thintwa School for the Deaf founded in 1981 by the late Archbishop Dennis Hurley in Inchanga will be hosting the second of their fundraising five and 10 km fun runs. The entry fee is R20 and for further details contact Lyle at 031-783 4006