For College Rovers and SA Home Loans Durban Collegians its a case of ‘play it again Sam’ as they once again have made it through to the final of the Hollywoodbets Murray Cup Final on Sunday after victories over Westville Old Boys and Varsity College respectively last Saturday at the home of Bidvest Insurance Crusaders in Durban North.

In the opening semi final it was one-way traffic as last years champions College Rovers went on the rampage scoring 14 tries to one in their 86-5 win over a brave Westville Old Boys side. Leading 39-5 at the break after Westville had looked as though they would be a lot more competitive in the first 15 minutes. However, once Rovers hit their straps it was always going to be a runaway victory as they ran riot playing some hugely entertaining running rugby for which the never say die Westville Old Boys outfit had no answer. For Rovers the elusive Curtis Jonas led the try scoring spree crossing for three of the best with the others going to Sinovuyo ‘Snake’ Nyoka, who crossed for two, Tythan Adams, Alrin Eksteen, Alcino Isaacs, Inny Radebe, Jabulani Mkhize, Malotsi Bouwer, Zee Makhabela, Sandile Kubeka and Sipho Mkhize

Radebe who was named HOLLYWOODBETS Man of the Match converted three of the tries with one going to Gav Scott and four automatically given with the tries having been scored under the poles. Take nothing away from Westville who replied with a lone try by Matthew Everitt they deserve accolades in having become the first ever First Division side to make it to a Murray Cup semi final.

The second semi final was a lot closer with SA Home Loans Durban Collegians edging out Varsity College 20-17 and out scoring the Durban North side three tries to one. It was the the boot of flyhalf Maarten Holtzhausen with four penalties that had kept Varsity College side in the hunt throughout the 80 minutes with their only try coming from Gadj Sibisi. Durban Collegians historically have always been a great positively determined side that knows how to dig deep remaining always in the game and at you for 80 minutes and it certainly showed on Saturday eventually taking the honors with tries going to Sharks flanker Luke Stringer, Joel Kidgell and Nanto Sibulele with Devon Lailvaux slotting a conversion and a penalty.

The Hollywoodbets Man of the Match went to the Durban Collegians center Andrew Holland, And so Rovers will meet Durban Collegians once again in what looks destined for yet another epic battle of the two top clubs in the province this Sunday at Crusaders in Ranleigh Crescent, Durban North

In the Junior Murray Cup Ethekwini Refractories Amanzimtoti beat Jaguar Land Rover Durban Hillcrest 25-19 and will go through to the final to play Standard Bank Richards Bay after the boys from The Bay disposed of Newcastle 38-14 while the hosts Crusaders will be in the final of the Peter Taylor Cup after hammering Westville Old Boys 78-5. They will meet Varsity College who beat Durban Collegians 25-15 in their semi final.

One of the biggest highlights of last Saturdays semi-finals day was the game that saw the Rugby World Cup side, Namibia, preparing for the biggest rugby event in World Rugby and beating a Cell C Sharks Invitational XV 41-0. For Crusaders skipper who led the Sharks invitational XV, Alex Curry, it was an emotional moment as it was his last game of rugby having decided to hang up his boots after wonderful service to not only his club but indeed the game as a whole

With the Newcastle Highlanders second stringers pulling out of the Keith Parkinson Cup Richards Bay will meet Amanzimtoti in their final on Sunday after Toti beat Hillcrest 22-21 while in the Under 20 Basil Medway Trophy Final  Varsity College will play Midlands after Varsity College beat Durban Collegians and Midlands accounted for South Coast Warriors with an exciting narrowly contested semi-final 15-13.

Proceedings start at 10.40 am with the Basil Medway Trophy final with a big draw card for Sunday’s Club Finals day a featured game that sees a Hollywoodbetss ALL STARS XV comprising of the players chosen from the clubs that haven’t made it through to the finals, up against this years Gold Cup semi-finalists, from Border, Hollywoodbets Swallows, in the main curtain-raiser to the Murray Cup Final, which is scheduled for a 4 pm kickoff.


All Credit to the Team:

Cell C Sharks head coach Sean Everitt has nothing but praise for the team, not only for their efforts in securing a semi-final position, but in the way the team has responded to the challenges set.

Reflecting on the performance against the Vodacom Blue Bulls, Everitt explained that, “I think we started well although we weren’t ahead on the scoreboard, but we were looking dangerous with ball in hand.

“The red card the Blue Bulls received wouldn’t have helped them and I thought that’s where the guys were really smart and stuck to the plan with regards to discipline. I was a bit disappointed in the last 15 minutes, giving away penalties and slipping off tackles defensively. Defence is about character and pride, and I think we let ourselves down there, but I am still very happy with the result and qualifying for the semis.”

At 41-21 up, perhaps the players felt it was job done which became problematic given the Bulls’ strong fightback at the end and it took some real character to stay in the game.

“Definitely,” agreed Everitt, “but at the same time, we have a bench that can make a difference, who look to make an impact, and playing on the highveld we knew there would be fatigue quicker. People do take their foot off the pedal and that’s something we need to work on from a Sharks perspective. When we have a team down, we have to knock them out.

“In saying that, the Bulls are a very proud union and we expected an onslaught from them. To play the way they did with 14 men was really good on their behalf. So all credit to them.”

Defensively, the Cell C Sharks know that they will have to produce a top-class effort in this weekend’s semi-final against a team that loves to spread the ball around. Everitt acknowledged that defence is a crucial part of the game.

“The Cheetahs are a team that like to keep ball in hand, but we looked after them pretty well in Durban and we have to continue to work really hard on our defence, otherwise we’re going to be in for a long day.  We’ve been good in that department and it’s something we can fix.”

Everitt also had words of praise for the man of the match performance from Aphelele Fassi who showed how dangerous he can be on attack, finding space or creating it.

“I’m very pleased for Aphelele, he’s worked hard on his game. He probably hasn’t had as much opportunity from the back in the Currie Cup but this game showed what he’s about, the class he possesses.  He was outstanding from the back and on his counter-attack against the Bulls and we look forward to developing him into an international class fullback; I don’t think it’s going to be too long before he gets higher honours.”

At the beginning of the weekend, there were numerous permutations on offer as far as possibly semi-finals or indeed missing out. For the Cell C Sharks, it was about doing what they have been lately.

“We needed to win this game and the way to do that would be to stick to our processes so that the guys could build momentum in the game and the tries would look after themselves. We weren’t going to treat this game any different to any other, from my side it’s all about performance and I knew that as long as we played well, keep the ball and defend well, we’d get the result without worrying about it.”

Lwazi Mvovo sadly had to leave the field early in the match after some strong work but Everitt advised that it didn’t appear to be overly serious.

“Lwazi rolled his ankle but he seemed ok in the changeroom after the match.  He’ll be assessed further but we don’t believe it’s anything serious,” the coach added.

It has been an interesting campaign and a tough competition, with the top four teams all winning four of their six matches. For Everitt and the Cell C Sharks, determination and attitude has been all-important.

“Qualifying for the semis after where we were three or four weeks ago is credit to the fight in this team. We’ve taken each of the last three games as knock-outs and come Saturday, we will be up for the game.

“We forget we have some youngsters in this team, some teenagers and Evan Roos who made his debut against the Lions has only recently turned 19. But I am also really proud of the senior players who have stood up.

“Our theme this campaign was growth and I think the youngsters have grown so that’s a goal we’ve achieved.”

The post All Credit to the Team appeared first on Sharks Rugby.

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