Impressive start by Rovers
Cape Town - College Rovers kicked off the inaugural Community Cup with an impressive 38-17 win over Despatch, while there were also victories for wildcards African Bombers, Raiders and Roses United on the opening weekend of the new 20-team national tournament.
Rovers were clinical in the opening match against Despatch at Kings Park 3, scoring four tries to two to grab a five-point haul ahead of their 2 000km return journey to fellow Pool A opponents Sishen in Kathu next Saturday.
The Durban-based outfit, who in the process notched their 80th victory in 84 matches dating back four seasons, held a 13-3 lead at the break before pulling away in the second period with centre Sergio Torrens, replacement back Kyle Wilkinson and scrumhalf Tian Meyer dotting down to go with the try scored by flanker Murray Bondesio in the first stanza. Fullback Jors Dannhauser weighed in with 15 points by way of three penalties and three conversions.
And in Zwide Stadium in Port Elizabeth, wildcards African Bombers caused the biggest upset of the weekend when two tries from fullback Xolela Payi and 19 points from the boot of mercurial flyhalf Masixole 'Coyi' Banda gave them a 35-22 win over Welkom Rovers.
There were also wins for the two other wild cards in action in Round 1, Raiders running out 45-12 winners over BB Truck Noordelikes in a Pool C encounter played in Polokwane, while in Wellington Roses United beat White River 65-36 in a thrilling encounter at Pelican Park.
The most dramatic result came in nearby Worcester, where Boland champions Villagers Worcester scored a try at the death to beat Griquas champions Sishen 24-20.
And in Pretoria, home side Police held out for a bonus-point 35-26 victory against Durbanville-Bellville on the Loftus Versfeld B field.
Leading 27-7 at half-time thanks to a brace of tries from Ruan van Loo and one just before the break by Luka van Biljon the Bobbies seemed to be cruising to an easy win over the team they knocked out at the quarter-final stage of last year's Club Championships.
But Durbell fought back in fine style with tries from Divan Batt and Raynor Becker immediately upon resumption to close the gap to six points. Michael Nienaber dived over for the home side's fourth try but Jody Reyneke scored a brilliant individual try to reduce the deficit once again with 15 minutes left on the clock.
Flyhalf Dillon Laubscher slotted his third penalty for a tally of six out of seven for the day to stretch the advantage to nine points with only a few minutes remaining. Despite a valiant effort from the Western Province club to secure a second losing bonus point, Police stopped the traffic to bag a full house of points and kick off their campaign in fine style.
But the day's finest individual performance came at Pelican Park in Wellington where Roses United fullback Hagen Mumba scored 30 points, including two tries, to give his side a 65-36 victory over White River.Full Results, Round 1:
College Rovers (13) 38 – Tries: Tian Meyer, Sergio Torrens, Murray Bondesio, Kyle Wilkinson. Conversions: Jors Dannhauser (3). Penalties: Greg Goosen, Dannhauser (3).
Despatch (3) 17 – Tries: Basil de Doncker, Monty Dumond. Conversions: Dumond (2). Penalty: Dumond.
Villagers Worcester (7) 24 – Tries: Jowayne van Wyk, Freginald Africa, Cliven Malies. Conversions: Jaylen Fortune, Yazeed Johnson (2). Penalty: Johnson.
Sishen (10) 20 – Tries: Johan Peens, Gert Cloete, Christiaan Treurnicht. Conversion: Tiaan le Roux. Penalty: Le Roux.Pool B:
Pretoria Police (27) 35 – Tries: Ruan van Loo (2), Louis van Biljon, Michael Nienaber. Conversions: Dillon Laubscher (3). Penalties: Laubscher (3).
Durbanville-Bellville (7) 26 – Tries: Marthinus Keyser, Divan Batt, Raynor Becker, Jody Reyneke. Conversions: Theuns Kotze (3).
African Bombers (19) 35 – Tries: Mlindazwe Nqoro, Xolela Payi (2), Conversion: Masixole Banda. Penalties: Banda (6).
Welkom Rovers (7) 22 – Tries: Jaco Pretorius, Hennie Prinsloo, Cobus Aucamp. Conversions: Pieter Strydom (2). Penalty: Strydom.Pool C:
Rustenburg Impala (13) 24 – Tries: Wendal Wehr, Duane Jordaan. Conversions: Naas Olivier (1). Penalties: Olivier (4).
Roodepoort (6) 13 – Try: Jessie Geyer. Conversion: Hennie Oosthuizen. Penalties: Steven Griffiths (2).
Noordelikes (0) 12 – Tries: Everard Bye (2). Conversion: Zander Byleveldt.
Raiders (28) 45 – Tries: Ryno Hendrikz, Jimmy Baloyi, Jama Ntengo, Dean Swart, Carlo Moodie. Conversions: Shaun Davids (4). Penalties: Davids (4).Pool D:
Roses United (22) 65 – Tries: Jacquin Ruthford, Hagen Mumba (2), Ryan Julies, Ramon Samuels, Denver Fortuin (2), Carlyle Lawrence, Neil Papier. Conversions: Hagen Mumba (7). Penalties: Mumba (2).
White River (22) 36 – Tries: Tjokkie van Tonder, Lodewyk van Staden, Conrad Botha, Gerrit Stoltz, Jaco Marneweck, HJ Neethling. Conversions: Van Tonder (3).
Old Selbornian (0) 8 – Try: Ludwe Booi. Penalty: Glen Warner.
Brakpan (12) 15 – Tries: Shaun Botes, Franco Booysen. Conversion: Gido Horn. Penalty: Charl Niewenhuis.Fixtures, Round 2 - Sat 23 Feb:
Match 9 – Sishen vs College Rovers (Sivos Stadium, Kathu, 16:00)
Match 10 – SK Walmers vs Villagers Worcester (Green Point Track, Cape Town, 15:00)
Bye: GAP Despatch Pool B:
Match 11 – Durbanville-Bellville vs African Bombers (Durbanville-Bellville Rugby Club, Cape Town, 15:00)
Match 12 – Welkom Rovers vs Bloemfontein Police (Rovers Rugby Club, Welkom, 15:00)
Bye: Pretoria PolicePool C:
Match 13 – Roodepoort vs Noordelikes (Rand Leases Sports Grounds, Roodepoort, 15:00)
Match 14 – Raiders vs Bloemfontein Crusaders (Bill Jardine Stadium, Johannesburg, 15:00)
Bye: Rustenburg ImpalaPool D:
Match 15 – Brakpan vs Roses United (Bosman Stadium, Brakpan, 15:00)
Match 16 – White River vs Evergreens (White River Rugby Club, White River, 15:00)
Bye: Old Selbornian