Kobus de Kock scored a try and kicked a 61-metre penalty late in the game as Jonsson College Rovers claimed the 2012 SARU National Club Championship title with a 23-10 victory over Pretoria Police in the final, played at the Rustenburg Impala Rugby Club on Friday.
The KwaZulu-Natal champions, who in the process recorded their 79th victory in 83 matches dating back four seasons, now earn the right to host the opening match of the inaugural SARU Community Cup, which replaces the Club Championships, in Durban on 16 February 2013.
It was Rovers’ fourth final in the past seven years and their second title, having beaten Maties in Stellenbosch to win the 2010 event.
“We are absolutely elated and I can’t say enough about my team-mates,” said College Rovers captain Chris Micklewood. “We’re a band of brothers and the Rovers spirit pulled us through in the end. Police are a great side and we have nothing but respect for them and what they’ve done here this week.”
The 24-year-old De Kock was named Backline Player of the Tournament for his efforts during the week-long tournament, which also included a match-winning cameo performance against Despatch in Monday’s quarter-finals when Rovers were at one stage just five minutes away from being bundled out of the tournament by the 1985 and 1988 national champions.
De Kock’s teammate and eighthman Lubabalo Mtembu won the Forward of the Tournament accolade, while there was consolation for Pretoria Police when their evergreen skipper Nico Luus was deservedly named Player of the Tournament, having led his side through to their first Club Championship final since 1996.
And in the Plate final, Bloemfontein Police shocked their more fancied Griffons rivals Welkom Rovers 17-15 to take the title. It was a case of sweet revenge for the Bloem Bobbies, who had lost three times to Rovers during the season but who rose to the occasion with three touchdowns, including the match-winning try of the tournament to replacement wing Johannes Nguvulo.
The game also provided a fitting and emotional sendoff for 42-year-old Bobbies tighthead prop Jaco Rademeyer, who was playing his final match after a Club Champs career which had started 22 years earlier, in 1990.
“I simply don’t have words to describe this,” said an emotional Rademeyer, whose son, Marco, represented Free State at last year’s Coca-Cola Under-13 Craven Week. “I’ll never ever forget it.”
Day 4 results (Fri 21 Sep):
Bloemfontein Police 17 – Tries: Pieter Ludwick, Albert Hertzog, Johannes Nguvulo. Conversion: Andre du Plessis.
Eagle Towing Welkom Rovers 15 – Tries: Johnnie Fourie, Cobus Aucamp. Conversion: Ricardo Santos. Penalty: Santos.
Jonsson College Rovers 23 – Tries: Kobus de Kock, Andrew Borgen. Conversions: Jors Dannhauser (2). Penalties: Dannhauser (2), De Kock.
Pretoria Police 10 – Try: Heinrich Rademeyer. Conversion: Dillon Laubscher. Penalty: Laubscher.