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16 September 2017

Photos: Courtesy Gavin Withers Photography

False Bay RFC delivered a convincing performance to win their all-important fixture on the road against IMT Sishen in Katho, Northern Cap on Saturday. The final score was 35-25 after the Bay lead 20-6 at the break.


Inter-Provincial travel is not the norm for Club teams. The challenges of harder pitches, different styles of rugby and the interpretation of the law by officials are standard fare further complicated by varying weather climes. For the Bay last weekend, an arduous fourteen hour road trip by coach albeit the luxury coach normally used by the Springboks, added to the challenges of the fixture. Yet that is the beauty of the Gold Cup, SA Rugby’s national club championship played in a four pool stage round robin with the top eight teams progressing to the knockout stages. And False Bay proved their mettle by delivering a convincing all-round winning performance on the hard surfaces of the Northern Cape mining town.


It was Sishen who opened the scoring with a penalty kick but the Bay struck back almost immediately with the first of three tries by left wing Marcello Sampson. The flyer delivered a classy all-round performance of solid defence combined with incisive running lines which made him a handful for defenders. Fullback Adnaan Osman converted, followed by a penalty kick which gave his team a 10-3 lead.


The hosts suffered the first of their two yellow cards, robust play their default option when under pressure which cost them dearly in meters as well as having to compete a man short for two ten-minute periods. Their half time tally of six points came from flyhalf Henco Olivier off the kicking tee but these were negated by Osman, whose first half scorecard reflected two conversions and two penalties.


The Cape team’s performance was built upon the solid foundation laid by their forwards. Beaten on the scale by their hosts, the mobile Bay pack dominated the tight phases. They pilfered lineout ball from the hosts at will, locks Graham Knoop and Brandon Wood adding half a dozen opposition lineouts to all of their own throw-ins. The Bay front row of veterans Ashley Wells, Vlam van Vuuren and young Wesley Futter stood up to their bigger opponents, taking scrum honours at the end of the day. Behind this formidable tight five, eighthman Ryan Olivier and flank Michael Botha revelled in the loose with Taps Tsamondo delivering his customary quality performance. Centre Richard Lawson and wing Dannie Roux shone alongside the aforementioned Sampson and Osman.


Shortly after the restart Samson crossed for his third try to give the visitors a 19-point lead. Sishen hooker Byron Booysen scored his team’s first of three tries converted by Olivier, to remind False Bay that the contest was far from over. However, the tourists refused to panic and negated Booyesn’s try with one by flank Jodey Reineke who had by now entered the fray from the bench. Osman added the conversion. Later he was to score the last of False Bay’s points on the day when he converted a penalty goal.


The hosts never relented and crossed the line for two more tries as the game loosened up towards the end, the result seemingly a fait accomplii with Bay legs feeling the arduous road trip by then. Ryno Versfeld and Samuel Muzaza accounted for these tries of which Olivier converted one.


It was an entertaining contest nevertheless, the hosts showing that they can contest for a knockout berth and False Bay overcoming a massive hurdle of a long road trip to face quality opposition on their home turf.


Gold Cup 2017 is proving to be a success even at this early stage of the competition. “This year’s competition is exiting and is delivering quality rugby across Southern Africa”, says Project Manger Gold Cup, Duane Heath. “The four pools are loaded with talented clubs with no clear favourites after two rounds”.


Indeed. The rugby is expansive, the supporters passionate and the players keen to express their talents on a national platform. The knockout stages will be televised live by Supersport and rugby followers across the country will be exposed to some of the most exciting rugby talent performing at rugby clubs nationwide every week.


False Bay has a bye this long weekend and then host Western Suburbs of Windhoek the following Saturday at Constantia.


- Jon Harris

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