BAY SWAMP VILLAGE
DirectAxis False Bay RFC powered past a game Villager RFC in their Southern Suburbs derby at Brookside on Saturday. The visitors scored eleven tries on their way to a 69-3 win after leading 17-3 at the break.
With five matches on offer on the day, the Constantia club walked away with four victories out of four as their Under 20, Thirds and Seconds all recorded comfortable victories for their club. By association, the Zimbabwe Rugby Academy, the adopted team of the Bay, lost their SuperSport Challenge match against the EP Elephants, played as the main curtain-raiser but that would be unfair to record that as a Bay loss on the day.
In the corresponding fixture played last year, Villager were great value on the day despite losing with some daylight between the scores and there was no way Thabo Ngcongo’s False Bay men would regard the result as a given, despite a massive win against NTK the week before. False Bay’s intentions were clear, run the ball, spreading it as wide as possible in an effort to tire their opponents out. The obvious benefit would be cracks forming in the Villager defence, a standout feature of their games to date. It would also serve to take the puff out of the solid home pack.
The opening quarter hour was frenetic as the Brooksiders gave as good as they got. They ran with confidence, in no way intimidated by their higher-ranked opponents. False Bay in turn ran hard, their tally of completed passes soaring as they limited breakdowns and the opportunity for the Villager forwards to slow the pace down. Their endeavour produced three tries before the break but their defence played a major role in restricting the hosts to a solitary penalty by flyhalf Junaid Arendse.
False Bay’s starting front row deserve special mention for the foundation they laid in the first half. Dave Geffen, Vlam van Vuuren and Wesley Futter managed this phase exceptionally well. They dealt with their determined opponents well in the opening quarter and then exerted pressure as the match progressed.
This was the first encounter between the two clubs at Brookside since 2013. Villager have trodden a tough trail in their return to the SLA, this their second season back in the top flight of WP Club Rugby. The half-time score would have instilled confidence in the hosts, their performance in the opening stanza courageous, determined and entertaining, with more than their fair share of running rugby on offer. Their forwards laid a strong foundation with the ball they had and their backs ran with purpose and verve. Their defence was sound and they fronted up to the Bay without fear. In hindsight, the Constantia boys were absorbing what their opponents were throwing at them, all the while playing an expansive game which was sapping their opponents of energy.
“We always knew that the first half was going to be tough because of the emotions behind the Derby”, said Ngcongo, “but I was really happy with how we managed the entire game”.
As the warmth of the afternoon made way for the chill of the evening, the Bay turned up the heat and produced a scintillating second half which saw the visitors run in a further eight tries, with a punch-drunk home team unable to add to their solitary penalty. With kick-off at the unusual time of 5pm, darkness fell at a time most other club matches were ending, a daytime fixture turned to a night-game and it appeared that the dimmer on the floodlights could not move beyond “twilight”. This did not appear to restrict a rampant False Bay as their bench was introduced and they threw the ball around with abandon.
Bay coach Johnno van der Walt is a stickler for fitness and his teams are always in peak condition, capable of producing fast-paced rugby until the 100th minute if necessary. The Constantia team turned the screws on their hosts. Their backs scored all but one of False Bay’s eleven tries, centre Danie Roux crossing for another hat-trick. Replacement scrumhalf Niyaaz Johnsen bagged a brace of tries, a healthy return for his energetic off-the-bench performance. His cousin Mustaqeem Jappie scored two of his own and the two Bay flyhalves Siya Alam and Ewan Adams each scored a try, while lock Ryan Olivier capped a fine performance with a try.
“As a team, I feel like we’re right where we want to be, no injuries and a lot of players pushing for selection”, said Ngcongo.
Indeed. The Bay’s Second XV is teeming with top quality talent vying for a chance in the Club’s flagship team. The Constantia outfit are unbeaten after six outings, with a full haul of 30 league points. This talent pool will stand them in good stead as they enter a period where they face the big performers on the SLA, including Tygerberg, Durbanville-Bellville, Maties and UCT in quick succession. The Super League A is hotting up and with six teams qualifying for the playoffs, depth and player management is important in the coming two months.
False Bay have a bye this Youth Day weekend and then return to prepare for their all-important clash against Tygerberg at Constantia on Saturday 21 June.