AS the dust settles on Colchester Rugby Club’s championship-winning season, a glance at the stats for their highly impressive campaign reveals the extent of the team’s dominance, writes EDWARD MARRIAGE.

Colchester finished with 102 points, 15 clear of second-placed Sudbury. Colchester’s points difference was +452, 70 points superior to their closest rivals.

Unbeaten at home throughout, Colchester lost just twice, away to Harpenden and Sudbury before Christmas. The Suffolk side pushed their neighbours all the way and boast the league’s longest winning streak.

After a number of losses in September and October, Sudbury went on an impressive 15-match unbeaten run and should be favourites to go one better next season.

Colchester’s record on the road was particularly formidable. The official Rugby Football Union website shows they were highest points scorers and the team that conceded fewest points in away matches.

Their biggest winning margin was 59 (Rochford 7 Colchester 66 on March 2) but there were a few tight results too, not least the season’s final match at Hertford where Colchester sneaked home, 35-34.


Given the team scored four tries or more in all but one of their 22 league matches, it’s hardly surprising they top the list for try bonus points.

Colchester’s try-scoring record is pretty eye-popping with a total of 138 for the season for an average of 6.3 per match.

You would have got long odds on the leading try-scorer for both Colchester and the league as a whole being a front row forward. Step forward Francois Rossouw!

The official RFU website has Frannie on 23 tries for the season, though he is adamant that it should be 24 as he had already touched down in the first half of Saturday’s match at Hertford before the referee headed under the posts to signal a penalty try.

Unsurprisingly, Frannie is delighted with his transition from centre to hooker. “I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner.

“This season has really brought back my love for the game and I’m not going to stop any time soon.”

Colchester head coach Craig Burrows was full of praise for this somewhat unlikely try-scoring hero.

“Outstanding player, clever player, strong player, mobile player. He’s promised me he’s going to come back next season and offer 150 per cent more.”

Not far behind Rossouw in the try-scoring charts are full-back Jimmy Mpailane (19), wing Jonah Varela (15), evergreen back row forward Danny Whiteman (12) and back row-turned centre Dylan Read (10).

In all, 20 different players scored tries (plus one penalty try) shared equally amongst backs and forwards.

No surprise that the leading points-scorer over all is fly-half Jayden Boshoff, who converted 78 of Colchester’s tries for a grand total of 162 points, including some crucial match-winning strikes from the touchline.

“He’s always out early before training, kicking balls,” said Craig. “He’s a really good kicker under pressure.”

Remarkably, the team kicked just two penalty goals in the entire campaign (both in the tightly contested 28-30 match at Shelford way back in September). As Craig Burrows emphasises, the team is all about going for tries rather than goals.

If that philosophy is to continue, stand-by for more stellar entertainment next season.