Bok centre set for comeback

2012-05-23 18:43

Cape Town - Johannesburg's historic Pirates Rugby Club will have the services of Springbok centre Waylon Murray this Saturday when they continue their bid for a place at the National Club Championships away to newly-promoted Varsity Cup side Wits University.

Pirates, founded in 1888, is the oldest club in Johannesburg but the Greenside-based outfit had to wait over a century before claiming their only Club Champs title, in 2001, under the coaching of former Springbok Dick Muir.

These days Pirates are coached by stalwart Franna Pelser, under whom they qualified for the 2009 nationals in Pretoria. On that occasion, however, the side came unstuck in the quarter-finals against eventual champions Hamiltons, but Pelser believes the class of 2012 have what it takes to qualify.

This year's Club Champs, which takes place in Rustenburg from 15-21 September, will feature only non-university clubs, meaning that Pirates are competing directly with the likes of fellow Golden Lions Grand Challenge sides Roodepoort and Raiders for the single automatic qualifying place.

Pelser, the son of legendary Springbok flanker Martin Pelser, grew up next to the Rand Leases rugby complex with former Bok coach Harry Viljoen. It was here that Pelser Snr coached Roodepoort while Viljoen’s dad, Ben, was chairperson.

“I started coaching Pirates in the early ‘90s and had a stint with Roodepoort as well,” said Pelser, “and I have never failed to make at least the semi-finals of the Grand Challenge.”

The club's chances were boosted this week when Murray, who is returning from a long injury layoff, and  Lions prop Jacobie Adriaanse reported for duty, with the Bok centre enjoying a semi-contact session against UJ on Tuesday night.

The 26-year-old Murray, who played three Tests for the Springboks in 2007, has been struggling with a knee injury since last year's Currie Cup.

“We will be without eighthman Willem van der Wal for the next few weeks with a broken hand, but there will be no excuses from now on,” said Pelser, after his side lost 39-23 last weekend to reigning national club champions Pukke.

And when Pirates run out against Wits this weekend, not one but two Pelsers will be cheering them on: Martin Pelser, now 78, will take his place next to the field, hoping his team take yet another step towards their Club Champs goal.

Elsewhere around the country, the odds shortened on Pretoria Police qualifying for the Club Champs when they beat Oostelike Eagles 112-28 in the Blue Bulls' Carlton League. The Bobbies' cause was helped further when main rivals Centurion lost 34-30 at home to Naka Bulls.

Down south, the two-horse qualifying race between Western Province Super League heavyweights Hamiltons and Durbanville-Bellville reaches its climax on Saturday in Green Point when the two sides clash. Hammies picked up their fourth win of the season last week with a nailbiting 27-22 derby win over neighbours SK Walmers to take them to fifth on the table. Durbell, meanwhile, kept their unbeaten record with a 67-7 away win over bottom-placed Tygerberg to move to 27 log points - nine behind Maties, who have played two more matches, but crucially five ahead of Hamiltons.

Wits continued their run of form, which has already seen the Jo'burg students qualify for next year's Varsity Cup, with a 26-20 away win over Raiders in the Predator Super League contested by the top Lions, Leopards and Falcons clubs. The win comes just a week after their remarkable come-from-behind 42-all draw against SA champs Pukke, and takes them to fourth on the Lions' Grand Challenge log behind Roodepoort, UJ and Pirates.

Sishen look almost certain to contest the Griquas Super League final after a third straight win, 66-7 over bottom-placed Postmasburg, took them to the top of the six-team table with just two rounds remaining. The Northern Cape side needs just two points from their remaining matches to book their place, although any of Upington, Kimberley Police, Kuruman or United could still reach the final.

There were good wins for NMMU (43-29 over African Bombers), PE Harlequins (32-18 over United Barbarians) and Despatch (13-10 over defending champions Park) in the EP Grand Challenge, while the country's top non-university club, College Rovers, made it six in a row in the KZN Moor Cup with a 47-25 victory over Zululand Rhinos.


  • AcidBlade - 2012-05-23 21:40

    Whos he?

      Ken - 2012-05-23 22:04

      He's a brother from another mother!

      John - 2012-05-23 22:16

      He will make a big difference to the lions big strong and fast in the midfield.....

      Bootman - 2012-05-24 07:22

      He's part of whats been going on in the world while you've been asleep under your rock.

  • Harold - 2012-05-24 06:50

    One of the unluckiest players around. Hope you stay fit.

      Harold - 2012-05-24 08:20

      Why would anybody want to give me thumbs down, for hoping a players stays injury free? The mind boggles.

      Jahendel - 2012-05-24 12:16

      @Harold Everthing u post deserves plenty thumbs down

  • Heiku - 2012-05-24 07:38

    The Lions need to contract this man right away! Doppies is leaving they need a good center

  • Gregory - 2012-05-24 08:08

    Full of promise and that's about all.

  • Schalk - 2012-05-24 08:29

    hoekom moet die lions vir hom n kontrak aanbied? hulle het aan die einde van hulle pad gekom! Miskien moet hy kyk na die Kings........

  • rinus.groeneveld.7 - 2012-05-24 08:54

    Dis wanneer ek weer besef omtrent elke man en sy hond het al vir die Bokke gespeel...

  • Acta - 2012-05-24 09:03

    Good to see you fit again. Go Durbies!!!! Smash Hammies like you smashed the Tigers!

  • Nico - 2012-05-24 09:38

    Great to see him back, great player and will make a big difference in the Lions team for the CC GO WAYLON!!!!

  • Sean - 2012-05-24 11:44

    Great to see him playing again. The Super Rugby season is nearly over, but he will make a good impact in the Currie Cup. I really hope they have a good showing in the Currie Cup. A lot of the injured guys should be back, and we can compete. I assume of course that the Lions are still in the Currie Cup, SARU hasn't replaced them with the Kings yet? :D

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