Quintin van Jaarsveld
A 14-man Riversmead South Coast Warriors side fought valiantly but were ultimately pipped 31-29 by hosts UKZN PMB in their Hollywoodbets Murray Cup quarterfinal showdown on Saturday.
The defining moment of the match came as early as the 20th minute when Warriors hooker Msizi Mzindle was red-carded for what was deemed a dangerous tackle.
The Warriors looked good out of the gate and despite being rocked by the red card, headed into half-time with a 17-12 lead following tries by backline Man of the Match Donovan Horne, Juan van der Berg and Kamevihle Fatyela and a conversion by Brandt Fields.
Mangwe Marubellella scored the visitors’ fourth try after the interval, but playing with 14 men for an hour was always going to be a tough ask and the hosts inevitably took the lead in the final 10 minutes.
The Warriors never gave up fighting and a last-minute try, and a second of the game, for forwards Man of the Match Fatyrela saw them bow out of the competition with a narrow two-point loss.
Disappointed captain Chris Mitchell told eHowzit, “We threw the game away with stupid decisions and turnovers. We dominated the game but just couldn’t finish off.
“We got a few calls against us – the red card and a disallowed try – but on a positive side, we played till the ref blew the final whistle and that showed guts to me.”
The First Division South Section champions have one last blockbuster clash this season – against North Section winners Piet Retief for the Dewar Shield in what will be the curtain-raiser to the Currie Cup clash between the Sharks and the Pumas at Kings Park on 7 September.
Meanwhile, the second team also got off to a good start and led 12-5 at half-time before going down 38-29 to their UKZN PMB counterparts at the death.
Jacques Gous and Diego Storm each scored a double. Star Molefe also dotted down, with Storm slotting two conversions. Man of the Match honours went to Ross Morris (forwards) and Gous (backline).
Head coach Gromingo Mzunga said, “I’m very proud of the boys – they really showed guts.” Backline coach Tian Gericke echoed his sentiments, saying, “I’m super proud of our boys – they fought till the last minute of the game.”