City rugby clubs hopeful for a season thriller

Durbanville-Bellville forward, Adriaan Staples tries to bulldoze past a solid Union-Milnerton wall, during their 12-12 draw in Milnerton, on Saturday.

The rugby community is hopeful the Western Province Club Rugby season, starting in less than two weeks, will go ahead, despite the ongoing uncertainty about the Covid-19 pandemic and a third wave.

Over the past two weeks, Union-Milnerton (UniMil) played their second pre-season friendly in over a year and three months without contact sports due to the epidemic.

Head coach at UniMil, Ishmaeel Dollie, said it feels good to be back on the field, although it is a different atmosphere without the support of family and friends.

“This is something we trained for. We have hope and we will pray for the season to go on. There is a bit of a concern in terms of planning and preparation. We cannot figure out what will be said by the government. In the past we looked forward to having our friends and families coming to watch but things have changed and we look forward to the next few weeks,” he said.

A fortnight ago, UniMil demolished Goodwood Rugby Football Club 45-5. This past week, they played to a 12-all draw against Durbanville-Bellville (Durbell) at home.

New head coach at Durbell, Warren Petersen, who succeeds the late coach Johann Kotze, said they will continue from where he left off, while representing one of the biggest clubs in the country.

Petersen said his side started pre-season training in November. They played their first pre-season match three weeks ago against Stellenbosch University. Maties won 20-5.

During last Saturday’s heavy rains, Durbel went up to Mamre to face Hamlets. Petersen said they dominated the scrums and set pieces, which helped them to win the match 12-7.

In Durbel’s 12-12 draw against UniMil, Petersen said they won the majority of the lineouts and set pieces, which sets them ready going into the pre-season match against Tygerberg on Saturday.

“It is exciting for the guys to be back on the field. There was a second wave and everything was closed. When the government gave us the go-ahead in March, we focused on conditioning since there was no contact allowed. Now with the season starting in less than two weeks we are ready. Durbel is a big club in the country. If we stay positive, motivated and work hard, we can achieve more together,” said Petersen.

The Western Province Club Rugby season is geared to begin on Saturday June 5.

UniMil scrumhalf, Lourens Pearson, looks over to the referee before placing the ball in the scrum.