Rugby news from KwaZulu-Natal:
FIDELITY ADT WEDNESDAY CLUB COLUMN:
The First Division took center stage this last weekend with Westville Old Boys still leading the way in the race for top honors in the South Section after their huge 81-12 victory over a shattered Drakensberg Rugby Club from Winterton at Woodburn last Saturday afternoon. Needless to say South Coast Warriors with a game in hand are hot on their tails in pursuit.
Scoring 13 tries to two clearly Westville are looking at finding their way into Premier Division. Perhaps early days yet but there can be no doubt that Community Rugby is destined to grow the game in more ways than one and strong opposition needs to come from in the Highway area.
Wing Hamza Mbilla led the try scoring spree with four touchdowns while centers Jordan Aylward and Keegan Paverd crossed for two each with the balance going to flank Kyle Mudgeway, wing Cameron Chiocchetti, Miegal Joubert coming off the bench and fullback Trent Bertrum who also slotted a conversion. Matthew Everitt was successful with four conversions and Wes Singleton with two.
A relatively young club in terms of KZNRU Club Rugby History and based at the Jimmy Bellows Grounds in Westville, an ideal setting for a rugby club, its history can be traced back to the late 70’s early 80’s. Since then the club has slowly grown to now become a force in First Division. Its been a long time coming thanks to the many good club men working behind the scenes.
In the other games the South Coast Warriors outfit with five of their key players out beat FNB UKZN Durban 29-14 at Douglas Mitchell Park down the South Coast collecting a precious bonus point and so keeping them in touch with Westville Old Boys and Jaguars drew 26 all with Ballito Dolphins up the North Coast.
This Saturday sees the Jaguar Land Rover Durban Hillcrest Villagers hosting their annual Rugby 4Alma Rugby Day at Kearsney College a fund raiser for a dear little girl with a rare disease. They will be hosting Drakensberg with the afternoon kicking off with the eThekwini Refractories Amanzimtoti Old Crocs up against the Old School Villagers at 12.30pm.
Westville Old Boys host South Coast Warriors in the top of the table clash and Maritzburg Collegians are at home to Jaguars on Saturday at Woodburn.
The Fidelity ADT Premier Division swings back into action on Saturday with SA Home Loans Durban Collegians facing Amanzimtoti on their home grounds where the memorial service for one of their favorite sons Gary Rodwell will take place at 1pm. Rodwell who played 36 games for Griquas before moving to Durban where he teamed up with the late Gawie Visagie, who had also played for Griquas, at Durban Collegians . Fittingly Griquas will be in town to face the Cell C Sharks on Friday evening.
In the other Premier Division Games UKZN Maritzburg travel to Durban North to play Bidvest Insurance Crusaders and Varsity College host Standard Bank Richards Bay
CURRIE CUP CAPTAINCY AND SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT:
Currie Cup Head Coach, Sean Everitt today announced that Tera Mtembu and Jeremy Ward will co-captain the Cell C Sharks in the 2019 Currie Cup campaign.
These two players embody our values, have a strong work ethic and together they will work in unison to rally a group of talented players in a shortened competition.
Tera is no stranger to the captaincy role having captained the Cell C Sharks in the Vodacom Super Rugby and Currie Cup previously. He is a respected team man and will provide the necessary mentorship and support to Jeremy, who himself has always displayed strong leadership qualities having captained the SA/20 team at the World Championship in 2016.
Vodacom Super Rugby captain, Louis Schreuder has a broken toe and will miss the first few matches of the competition, therefore could not be considered.
Commenting on their appointments, Sean Everitt said: “The decision to go with co-captains will ensure continuity on the field of play at all times. Both these players understand our diverse team culture and where we are heading collectively. More importantly they have the respect of the team and are natural leaders.
“I am a firm believer in the philosophy that every player should be a leader in their respective positions, however you do need your captain to be a voice of reason and someone with a calm head that the team can look to for direction during pressure situations. We have this in Tera and Jeremy.”
Everitt, also announced an exciting 39-man squad for the Currie Cup competition. Andrew Evans and Tyler Paul have not been included, at this stage, due to their current rehabilitation from long-term injuries.
Amongst the players named is a certain JP Pietersen, a legend of Sharks rugby who makes a welcome return to Durban, after spending some time abroad. Pietersen has been contracted until Currie Cup 2020, where after he will be developed within the age-group system for a future coaching role.
“I am excited to be back home and to be part of a familiar Sharks set-up. The Cell C Sharks have a group of talented young players in the system and I look forward to providing a mentorship role to these young players and playing in the black and white jersey once again”, added Pietersen.
“The prospect of being upskilled within the Sharks coaching development ranks is one that excites me. I am grateful for the opportunity and I am eager to give back to the game and more especially a team that believed in me and my potential.”
Cell C Sharks Currie Cup Squad
|Bandisa Ndlovu||Aphelele Fassi|
|Coenie Oosthuizen||Boeta Chamberlain|
|Craig Burden||Cameron Wright|
|Cullen Collopy||Curwin Bosch|
|Dylan Richardson||Grant Williams|
|Fezo Mbatha||Ilunga Mukendi|
|Gideon Koegelenberg||Inny Radebe|
|Hyron Andrews||Jeremy Ward (c)|
|Jacques Vermeulen||JP Pietersen|
|JJ van der Mescht||Kobus van Wyk|
|John-Hubert Meyer||Leolin Zas|
|Juan Schoeman||Louis Schreuder|
|Kerron van Vuuren||Lwazi Mvovo|
|Khutha Mchunu||Marius Louw|
|Kwanda Dimaza||Muller du Plessis|
|Luke Stringer||Murray Koster|
|Michael Meyer||Rhyno Smith|
|Mzamo Majola||Sanele Nohamba|
|Ruben van Heerden|
|Tera Mtembu (c)|
New Campaign Arrives:
With the Vodacom Super Rugby championship behind us, it is now time to cast our attention to the upcoming Currie Cup campaign that kicks off this week.
Being a Rugby World Cup year, the competition has been paired down to just one round of matches with the reigning champions, the Cell C Sharks kicking off the action against SuperSport Challenge victors Griquas at JONSSON KINGS PARK on Friday evening.
The Golden Lions, Western Province, Free State Cheetahs, Blue Bulls and Pumas make up the other five sides in the Currie Cup Premier Division which will crown the champion on Saturday 7 September after each team has played six matches and then the semi-finals.
Newly appointed head coach Sean Everitt has a talented squad to work with, but given the short period of time between campaigns, will be looking to maximising the time he has available with his players in order to get off to a solid start.
“We don’t have a long time to get these guys up to speed, but everyone will be familiar with the style of play and I’m confident they can handle themselves well,” he explains.
He has had some time to work with a number of junior players and since last week had the available members of his squad looking to perfect the style of play that suits the campaign, the players and the coaching philosophy.
“We want to play an expansive style of rugby, not 10 man,” he points out. “There was an improvement on attack under (assistant coach) David Williams in Super Rugby and we’d like to continue with that approach.
“With the youngsters we have coming in, they’re going to be required to play that brand of rugby. We’re not going to change anything, but we would like to tweak a few things and certainly improve on performances.”
Although there are a number of younger players coming into the squad, he doesn’t see their transition presenting any great challenge. It’s not like they have been thrown in the deep end, there is history there as well as the importance of the guidance from senior players.
“I have a good relationship with the youngsters and we’ve become quite a tight-knit group over the last few years so I think they will be comfortable. That relationship is built on the trust between us which will make life easier for them.
“What’s also important is for the senior players to build relationships with them too, which will help us and assist the younger guys on the training field and in the games. Having some of the juniors involved in the Super Rugby campaign, whether they played or not, the feedback from them has been positive.”
Griquas are not a team to be taken lightly, despite not considered to be one of the ‘Big Five’, but they have more than proven their mettle over the last few years and nothing excites them more than getting one over the bigger teams in the competition.
“We’ve had some wonderful campaigns in the past where we slipped up against Griquas, but, the difference in those days was that the Currie Cup was a double round. This year it’s a single round which means every game is pretty much a knock-out. If you do slip-up along the way, there could be major consequences.”
But assessing his squad, the Cell C Sharks coach believes he has the talent available to produce an exciting, successful campaign.
“The make-up of the team is slightly different from both Super Rugby and the SuperSport Challenge, we will have a younger team. But what’s exciting is that we’ve managed to keep the tight five together to a large extent. We have lost one or two to the Springboks but the guys who will feature in Currie Cup have Super Rugby experience.
“As long as you have a tight five and young loose forwards, that’s exciting for the youngsters, they won’t be playing under the pump. We want to have a game where the backs get good ball, so we can play a total style of rugby.”