BIG BUSINESS FOR BAY
19 July 2017
17 SEPTEMBER 2016 President's Cup game
Photos Courtesy of Gavin Withers Photography
It’s the business end of the season for False Bay RFC starting this Saturday when they host Vics at the Phillip Herbstein Fields in Constantia.
The Bay briefly headed the SLA table before their bye-weekend which allowed Hamiltons RFC to regain the top spot with their five league point victory over SK Walmers on Saturday. Tygerberg are still very much in the running but rely more on the faltering of the Bay and Hammies than their own devices for league honours. Of course, perennial champions Stellenbosch University are as always favourites to take the title, an uncharacteristic two losses in nine remaining outings the gateway to league honours for a non-University club. It is a very competitive league. Perhaps the most broadly contested in a number of years with any one of the already mentioned open clubs as well as slow-starters Durbell, vying for top spot.
The Durbanville-based club, former national club champions seemed dead and buried after their uncharacteristic bland start to the season wherein they lost three of their opening four fixtures. They are on song now and loom menacingly for False Bay next week. Coach Johnno van der Walt cannot allow his attention to linger too long on that fixture as he has another more pressing engagement at Constantia this week when his team hosts Vics. Stellenbosch University second stringers are no pushover for anyone priding themselves on their unique style of rugby and a consistent mid-table finisher every season. Pride in the club will be another motivating factor as they endeavor to run interference and trip up any would-be challengers.
Van der Walt’s coaching panel and charges are all too aware of what lies ahead. Watching their season develop, it is apparent that there is a plan behind the campaign and that those involved are aware of their role and responsibilities. False Bay’s last two matches have been easy victories with them notching up more than eighty points on both occasions and scoring two dozen tries in the process. Even in the chaos of these routs the Bay were structured and working to a plan, as difficult as that is when overshadowing one’s opponent. At the same time van der Walt was able to give young talent the opportunity to blossom and strut their stuff. Loosehead prop Simon Raw scored five tries over these two fixtures and faces expulsion from the mythical Federation of Frontrankers, while tighthead Wesley Futter showed up well. Lock Jan Ferreira proved his value as an “engine-room” grafter. Performances such as these underlined the depth available to the coach.
No matter what the Bay may have done to be in this position at this stage of their campaign, a total commitment to the cause is the bare minimum for those involved from hereon in. With Vics, Durbell, a very dangerous Brackenfell away and the tricky UWC in a night game on Campus ahead, there are a few banana peels strewn across the Bay’s path. van der Walt and his coaching panel are cognisant of what lies ahead and have their work already mapped out. The flip side to their remaining campaign is that of other challengers, Maties the most noted. With nine matches in four weeks the students face some obstacles, starting with high-flying Tygerberg on Saturday, and Hamiltons, Brackenfell and Durbell the most notable opponents in their schedule.
It promises to be a keenly contested SLA2017 campaign and club rugby followers are the benefactors. Kick off at Constantia is 4pm with first games starting at 1.30. All are welcome.
- Jon Harris