In a festival of rugby at the Phillip Herbstein fields in Constantia, False Bay RFC overwhelmed a competent University of Western Cape. The Bay won 70-10 after leading 28-3 at the break.
With the match day programme featuring the Under 21 Currie Cup match between Western Province and the Free State, and four competitive contests between the students and the Bay, rugby enthusiasts were further enticed from their couches by a warm late-Winters day which added to the occasion.
Western Province produced a magical second half to register an impressive 48-17 win. In the colours of False Bay, the teams of the hosts all banked victors to set the scene for an interesting clash between the respective First teams.
Led onto the pitch by veteran hooker, Andre “Vlam” van Vuuren, registering his 200th First XV cap, it was clear to the local support that the Constantia outfit were not about to make it three losses in a row. False Bay had lost their previous two fixtures leading up this all-important contest against Chester Williams’ Bellville students. Both saw False Bay fail to add to their half-time scores while having in excess of twenty second-half points registered against them by UCT and Maties.
On the other hand, they were up against a very capable team who extended the Bay in the corresponding match last season, surprising with their fitness, stamina and competitiveness at the death.
That was there again this year, but unfortunately Udubz caught the Bay in a determined mood. It was clear that coach Johnno van der Walt had torn a strip off his team, that second half against Maties enough reason for a heart-to-heart chat and some introspection.
As if facing a motivated team wasn’t enough of a challenge, UWC took to the field for the third team within seven days, their tired bodies having been softened by bruising encounters against Durbanville-Bellville and the Maties, the latter barely three days earlier. They acquitted themselves well in these contests, but the Bay contest turned out to be one too many as they steadily faded in the face of relentless attack.
The platform for the victory was a dominating pack, their front-row of Johnny Raphael, van Vuuren and David Geffen put their opponents to the sword, the stocky Raphael a handful for his taller opponent. He was odd man out of that trio, the only one not to score a try.
Locks Graham Knoop and Brandon Wood were immense. They both pilfered lineout ball from their guests and shone in the tight-loose, the latter delivering a man-of-the-match game in this department, a rare try just reward for his efforts. Michael Botha at number eight, although only entering the fray at half time, put himself amongst the candidates for this frivolous award.
At the back, Danie Roux and Morne Smal were busy and flyhalf Siya Alam reveled in the space available to him. Roux scored a brace of tries, Alam got one as did his replacement Ewan Adams. Scrumhalf Niyaaz Johnson and replacement centre Riaan O’Neil bagged tries for the Bay. Prop Msizi Zondi raised the ire of the legendary “Federation of Front Rankers” for his 40-meter dash to the line for his score. The “FFR” as they are known, is a clandestine organization of older generation props whose core belief was that no prop may score a try from further than five metres from the try-line. Zondi accepted his immediate life ban from the group graciously.
Such was the dominance of the home side, it was hard to identify players who stood out as they tried to stem the tide of Bay attacks. On the one occasion the students breeched the Bay defences, it resulted in an expansive seventy metre try by flyhalf Aidyn Cupido, at the end of some beautifully angled running and pacey catch-me-if-you-can challenges to the Bay line.
False Bat have now completed their fourteen league matches and have qualified for the knock-out stages of the SLA season. They currently lie in third position on the table. The top six finishers qualify for these stages, with the top two enjoying an automatic semi-final berth. UCT, Maties, False Bay and DurBell are guaranteed top four finishes. DurBell have an easy fixture against struggling Primrose and then quite the converse when they take on Maties at Durbanville. UWC currently lie fifth with one match remaining, against SK-Walmer, who are no pushovers.
Ownership of sixth position is still up for grabs. Tygerberg, currently in sixth position, face Maties in their last match, while seventh-placed Union Milnerton travel to Brackenfell for their last round-robin match.
False Bay have a two-week layoff before contesting the quarter-finals at home.