The battle of the rugby shield tightens

Wits rugby team Medics “Young Doctors” is currently number one at the university, having lost none of their matches this year from ten teams. Their latest victory was against Monash for the Rugby Internal League play off.

Following Young Doctors is Masakhane with 208 points and the Engineers with 173 points. The SA Union of Jewish Students (SAUJS) which still have not won any games since the league started, managed only 50 points and continue to remain at the bottom this semester.

SAUJS have not played any games this semester and have been troubled since their team had a leadership deficit – their manager only just returned two weeks ago from a two month trip overseas. Alan Leonard, Rugby Internal League coordinator, said, “If SAUJS cannot continue then the scores for SAUJS will be wiped out and it will be as if they had not played. That levels the playing field”.

Meanwhile, Masakhane is determined to take the Medics on in the finale after they lost only one game last semester against the Medics. Katlego Maseko, Masakhane captain said his team had no problems, had “the best defence in the league” and he hoped to see Medics in the final.

Even though the Medics have done extremely well their captain, Donovan Heslop disclosed that “one part of our game that needs work is our defence and kicking, this has always been a problem with us our strongest asset has been our attack, we have very exciting players who are able to create tries when needed.”

TEAM HUG: The Medics rejoice after winning a game. Photo by: Tendai

TEAM HUG: The Medics rejoice after winning a game.        Photo by: Tendai Dube

For the past three years the Medics have only made it to the semi-finals, not winning the cup. Heslop said this time, “Our goal is to make the final and hopefully win the league.”

As for Mens Res, they opened this semester with another loss. Leonard said, “Last week their fitness was not up to scratch and they seem to change their team every week.”

“I think the other teams have got stronger but also with the disruptions the teams have not played the same number of games,” he added.

Monash captain, Tatenda Mtemeri said that one of the reasons for their lack lustre performance well is that they had a lot of new players most of which were under 19. They had only three seniors remaining.

However, it’s not really a Super 6 anymore; this year all teams will play until the semi-finals. This means that all teams on the league, Medics, Masakhane, Engineers, Commerce, Monash, Humanities (Titans), Mens Res (Raiders), South African Hellenic Association (SHA), MGI Tigers and SAUJs will be part of the remaining three rounds of the games.

The Rugby Internal League Final will take place on September 10, with only three rounds left until the play-offs. The last week will see a five game round if SAUJS emerges from its leadership crises and continue to play, according to Leonard.

Close on the Medics’ heels for winner, according to the current standing, looks likely to be Masakhane or the Engineers.

RUGBY: Thrilling internal league matches leave fans begging for more

Mens Res and Midrand Graduate Institute go head-to-head in a scrum.

Mens Res and Midrand Graduate Institute go head-to-head in a scrum.       Photo: Lutho Mtongana

The Wits internal rugby league put on an exhilarating show last night with four tightly contested games on the east campus rugby fields.

All four games ended the first half with scores tied, an indication of how evenly matched the teams were.

The Steinhoff Medics won 34-32 against the Steinhoff Engineers in the highest scoring game of the night. The Medics ended the game with a spectacular try from within their own half.

The Midrand Graduate Institute (MGI) managed to score 26 points on their way to victory against Mens Res who only scored 18.

Humanities (Titans) lost to Masakhane who ended the game 8 points ahead after a difficult match. The game ended 16-8 late in the second half.

The final game of the night saw Steinhoff Commerce beating Monash in the final play with a try to win 16-14.

Monash lost their match despite scoring three tries that had the crowd begging for more.

The team currently leading the Wits internal rugby is Steinhoff Masakhane which has only lost one game out of a total of four games played.

Steinhoff Humanities is currently placed last and after the game it lost against Masakhane last night, and it seems like it will remain at the bottom of the league for this week as well.

There are still eight more weeks left before the final in July.



Monash University beats Steinhoff SHA in night of rugby

Monash and SHA tackle on the field for the ball.

Monash and SHA tackle on the field for the ball. Photo: Lutho Mtongana

Monash University won its internal rugby league match against Steinhoff South African Hellenic Association (SHA) on Wednesday, 31 to 25, but left many of its fans frustrated with their poor defense.

Steinhoff was racing for the goal line but while Monash players surrounded the ball-handler, none made an attempt to tackle, giving away an easy try.

“Do they play touch rugby when they practise?” one Monash fan said with frustration.

Steinhoff SHA’s strong tackling helped them keep up with Monash and with the score staying neck and neck throughout the match. After the first half, Monash led with 15 points while SHA was behind with only 10.

Despite the frustration from Monash supporters during the match, they were filled with enthusiasm and delight when their team ended with a victory against SHA.

Monash player Chris Ndanga said his team had one with several new players, with only four or five senior members on the field.

“They [SHA] tackled high which made them easy to defend off considering most of the guys in our team are smaller,” said Ndanga.

Ndanga acknowledged that the margin of victory could have been greater if they had given away fewer errors.

“I feel we could have won by a bigger margin if it wasn’t for a few defensive and handling errors,” Ndanga said.

The Monash match was one of three played on Wednesday night.  In the other matches, Commerce took on the Midrand Graduate Institute (MGI) Tigers and Masakhane faced Men’s Residence.

MGI Tigers, who are newcomers to the internal rugby league, got off to a bad start and wound up losing to Commerce with a score of 7 to 16.

Widely considered to be one of the best teams in the internal league, Masakhane won with a score of 26 to 0 against Men’s Residence, even after three of their players were injured and had to be replaced.

Another two matches were scheduled for the evening, Engineers versus Knockando and the Medics versus SAUJS, but were cancelled because one of the fields was closed.

Despite the cold weather, the crowd sang songs and roared with energy throughout the night. Monash received the greatest support as family, friends and schoolmates came out to watch them leave Wits rugby grounds victoriously.