Impi beat the odds to claim Varsity Shield title
IT WAS an Easter weekend of mixed fortunes for the KZNRU clubs.
FNB UKZN Impi did the province proud by winning the Varsity Shield for the first time, beating Wits 29-24 in an entertaining final in Johannesburg.
It certainly sent a message to the rest of the clubs in KZN, with the Fidelity Security Premier Division kicking off in two weeks.
With this in mind, the Moor Cup may well be returning to the capital, where it was handed over to Vic King, then president of the Maritzburg Rugby Sub-Union, in Kings Sport shop by an unknown person.
It would be a fitting story considering that the first winners of the Moor Cup on its return home to KZN were Durban University in 1957, followed by Maritzburg University in 1962.
The last time a side from Pietermaritzburg won the oldest piece of silverware in world rugby was 49 years ago in 1966, when Maritzburg Collegians had their name engraved on the trophy.
What made the Impi’s victory even more creditable was the fact that they went into the game as the underdogs.
Playing away from home, they pulled off the impossible with quite the most sublime performance against the oddson favourites.
It wasn’t at all surprising to see multi-talented Impi flyhalf Inno Radeba, who was sensational on the day, being awarded the Player that Rocks award.
He delivered an exceptional performance behind his pack, who also deserve accolades for their performance.
For coach Ryan Strudwick, who led Jonsson College Rovers to National Club championship glory in 2010, and his student charges it was a moment to cherish as they added to their rugby history.
However, it was heartache for College Rovers, who had dearly wanted to end their Cell C community Cup campaign on a high for their departing skipper. Alas, Chris Micklewood played his last game on a losing note against Pretoria Police in the final of the Plate Competition, going down 37-15 to the Bobbies in Rustenburg, home of last year’s champions, Rustenburg Impala.
Chris Jordaan was the top try scorer in the competition, while Micklewood finished as the second-top points scorer, at least ending his career on a positive note.
His contribution to the club and the club game has been an inspirational lesson to the many people who have come across this young man, and we wish him well going forward.
Underdogs Durbanville Belville, who reached the playoffs via the back door, so to speak, surprised everyone by taking the honours after winning 31-30 in a thriller of a final against the hosts and holders of the Gold Cup, Rustenburg Impala.
Their mercurial flyhalf, Garth April, was voted the man of the series.
It will be a special weekend for KwaZulu-Natal’s oldest rugby club, Kokstad Rugby Club, who are celebrating their 125th anniversary.
Steeped in history and winners of the Castle Murray Cup in 1920, there will be a golf day on Friday followed by an anniversary dinner in the evening.
On Saturday the Sharks XV and the Cheetahs XV will mark the occasion by playing their Vodacom Cup game at the famous Elliott Park Stadium in the East Griqualand town.
It is a special milestone for this old club, which boasts one of the most famous Springboks from the side of 1937 on their honours board.
It is well documented that this Springbok side beat the All Blacks in a Test series in New Zealand.
The team was captained by a legendary sheep farmer and his friend from Greytown, Philip Nel. That man was Ebbo Bastard.
There will many stories to tell as they celebrate 125 years of rugby excellence.