BAY OFF TO A RUSTY START
In their annual Mark Jordaan Trophy challenge, False Bay RFC put in a creditable performance against a strong UCT at Constantia on Saturday. The final score was 16-8 to UCT after the Bay led 8-5 at the break.
The False Bay coaching panel came away with a clear idea of how much work is still in store for them if they want to deliver to the potential that their team possesses, which in all fairness was their pre-stated objective of the match.
Indeed, the positives far outweigh the negatives and there is much for which to become enthused. “It was by no means a poor performance”, said Head Coach Johno van der Walt, “but it just does not cut it for our team and our high standards”.
UCT despite the need to protect their player reserves for an extended Varsity Cup campaign as they appear certain to reach the playoffs, managed to field a strong team which included a number of their VC squad members. This was so much better for the Bay as they could easily have performed well against a weakened team and gain false security from such a performance.
Nevertheless, both sides contributed to an entertaining, albeit a scrappy at times contest. The first score of the match happened after 25 minutes when UCT wing, Suwi Chibale cracked on his tremendous pace to score after fullback Tom Bednell had fielded a wayward kick on the half and sliced through the defence to pop the ball to him.
False Bay almost immediately struck back through a try by veteran centre Marc Davids after wing Danie Roux himself had collected a field kick and counter attacked. The ball saw a few pairs of hands before Davids’ touchdown, a demonstration of what the Bay were capable of doing. Later flyhalf Andri Claasen scored the last of his team’s points when he converted a penalty. The frosty Autumn wind sweeping across the field had caused both team’s kickers concern as they battled to convert kicks normally well within their capabilities.
UCT stepped up the pace in the second half, building phases through quality ball retention. Their forwards were never shy to stand back, with bulky lock Aiden Monk in the vanguard and loosehead prop Msizi Zondi catching the eye with his mobility, speed and support of the ball carrier. Veteran wing (by his team mates’ standards), Paul Cohen showed pace and flair and was a constant threat when the ball went wide. The UCT loose trio of Craig Roberts, West McIntosh and Bradley Bosman were also outstanding on the day and scrummie Ryan Dugmore revelled behind them. Bednell at the back, was the standout UCT player on the day.
The False Bay front row of SP Blakely, Vlam van Vuuren and Frankie Charlie were powerful in the scrums, which they matched in the loose. Flank Justin van Winkel was seemingly omnipresent at the breakdown and tireless in his approach. Wing Danie Roux showed his defensive capabilities and had a strong game in this department, never really getting much opportunity to show his attacking skills. Left wing Taalieb Johnson showed tremendous pace when given the ball with some space.
Fullback Jason Pretorius looks promising. He’s big and strong with deft footwork and promises to be a find at the back. Young 20 year-old replacement scrumhalf, Darren Rix showed an assuredness and confidence which belied his age and promises to be a quality understudy to Ridhaa Damon.
The Bay in their analysis will acknowledge that the pace of the Super League A game is a lot faster and they will need to adapt. Their error rate was perhaps too high, but they were not afraid to experiment and run at the much faster students.
They lost a number of lineouts and will surely work on this aspect to improve it to their usual high standard, as it is a primary source of quality possession for them. Their accuracy showed that it was their first outing. The fluidity of their opponents, who have been together for a lot longer preparing for their primary challenge of the Varsity Cup, was an uneasy foil.
Van der Walt and his assistants, Chris Hewetson and Ryan Williams will not allow focus to fall upon the negatives. These were far outweighed by the positives and can easily be remedied by practice and focus.
For False Bay, Davids scored a try and Claasen converted a penalty.
UCT’s points came from two tries Chebale and two penalties by Cohen.
The spirit in which all matches were played on the day and the camaraderie on and off the field was a fitting tribute to Mark Jordaan, a popular member of both clubs, in whose honour the matches are played.
False Bay travel to Strand to face Helderberg in their next friendly on Saturday. Kick off is at 4pm.