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22 April 2017

Photos: Courtesy Gavin Withers Photography

DirectAxis False Bay RFC continued their winning ways to remain unbeaten and to retain the Mark Jordaan Trophy when they overshadowed a game UCT at Constantia on Saturday. The final score was 58-7 after the Bay lead 18-0 at half time.


Johnno van der Walt’s team has shown steady improvement in each of their three SLA matches this season. The well-balanced outfit are beginning to hit their straps, ideal when the long season and strength of teams in the competition are considered. Their eight try to one rout of the luckless students announced False Bay’s readiness to defend their title and with the Mighty Maties just over a week away, this outing did their confidence no harm while highlighting areas of improvement.


The Ikeys have not enjoyed a successful season thus far. They ended eighth out of nine teams in the Varsity Cup and with some of their players away representing Western Province, the Bay posed more than an everyday challenge. The students were prepared for the battle ahead, a physical one as expected and their first half performance lent credence to their chances against a vastly more experienced outfit. It was their decision to front up to the home side physically which was perhaps their undoing.


While the Bay are a good blend of youth and experience, even five years is a tremendous edge to have over an opponent when the other is barely into his twenties and while the Ikeys employed their renowned brand of ball-in-hand rugby, they looked dangerous. On the flip side, when they tried to front up against the bigger, more experienced Bay forwards, it was inevitably a one-sided contest which resulted in motivating the home forwards more while frustrating the visitors, frustration which manifested in marginal play.


UCT flank Alva Sendreyani received a red card for a dangerous tip tackle on Bay eighthman Ryan Olivier after the ball had been passed to Mustaqueem Jappie who scored his team’s opening try. The touch judge was alert to the transgression and UCT had to spend more than an hour facing a rampant False Bay with fourteen men. Such is the character of this UCT team that they never gave up, even when the dripple became a flow.


Minutes after Jappie’s score, right wing Roemark Smith scored the first of a hat-trick when he chipped, chased and collected and flyhalf Andri Claasen completed the Bay’s first half haul with one conversion and two penalties. The penalty conversion option instead of lineout drives were an indication of the serious enough threat that the students posed.


The second half however was a different situation completely. Defending with fourteen men against a rampant fifteen weighed heavily on the visitors and the cracks became apparent. By contrast False Bay upped their game noticeably, their familiar second half fitness becoming more apparent with each passing week. Smith collected another two, one in similar fashion to his first, the other a little more conventional in execution. Left wing Jacques van Staden picked up one and replacement wing Niyaas Johnson maximised his twenty minutes on the pitch with a brace of tries. Lock and captain Graham Knoop completed the Bay tries column with a well-deserved score.


Claasen, who is showing a return to form converted one of the tries before being given a rest. Replacement fullback Karl Martin’s booming boot accounted for four conversions.


The only UCT try was scored by lanky replacement centre Gerard Pieterse, who shone when entering the fray. He played in his club’s Second XV, where he was outstanding, his incisive and determined running a handful for defenders. Flyhalf Rob Anderson, who had a more than solid game, converted. Others to catch the eye in the hooped-shirts were lock Gary Porter, eighthman Josh Moon and scrumhalf Stef de Gouveiea, who seemed to enjoy his tussle with the Bay’s Dylon Frylinck.


To name outstanding players for the home side would be unfair. This was a sound and comprehensive squad performance. Many players deserve recognition but perhaps an exception should be made for Knoop. He leads from the front, never shirking in the basics and is always more than willing to do the hard graft.


False Bay have a bye this long weekend and then travel to Stellenbosch to face the Maties next Saturday for what promises to be an exciting encounter. The Maties were losing finalists in this year’s Varsity Cup and will surely be determined to redress their loss to False Bay last season. Kick off is at 4pm.

- Jon Harris

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