KOBUS de Kock scored a try and kicked a 58m penalty late in the game as College Rovers claimed the SA Rugby Union National Club Championship title with a 23-10 victory over Pretoria Police in the final in Rustenburg at the weekend.
The KwaZulu-Natal champions, who in the process recorded their 79th victory in 83 matches dating back four seasons, have now earned the right to host the opening match of the inaugural Community Cup, which replaced the Club Championship, in Durban on February 16.
It was Rovers' fourth final in the past seven years and their second title, their 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 said. "We're a band of brothers ..."
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 quarterfinals 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.
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 spanning 22 years.
"I simply don't have words to describe this," an emotional Rademeyer said, whose son, Marco, represented Free State at last year's Coca-Cola under-13 Craven Week. "I'll never ever forget it."