"BLITZBAY" COME CLOSE IN 7s FINAL
11 November 2018
Photo Courtesy of Gavin Withers Photography
Hot on the heels of False Bay RFC's Gold Cup championship success, their Sevens rugby side very nearly made it double glory for the Constantia club at this year's Score WP Sevens Championship at Goodwood on Saturday. "BlitzBay" as they are affectionately known, lost 22-26 to St George's of Strand in the last play of the day to finish runners up in the enthralling tournament.
With the Club's top 30 players representing or on standby for their Gold Cup campaign, the inter-club Sevens Tournament afforded players the opportunity to display their talents, strive for glory as a team and to catch the eye of selectors who were tasked with choosing representative Sevens teams for the Province. To this end, Coach Pieter Benade was appointed Head Coach of the Dream Team with flyer Roemark Smith deserving his selection for the same squad.
Justin Fielies and Niyaaz Johnson earned higher honours in the WP A team.
Played over five consecutive Saturdays, the tournament's format allowed ample and fair opportunity of success to all participating clubs. The first four days involved a series of round robin matches within four pools of ten teams with the top four of each group contesting the finals in Week Five. False Bay was in a group which included last year's winners Bellville, Victorians and Tygerberg.
Having made it to the semi-finals of the tournament last year, Bay coach Benade had tasted success and knew what was expected to bring home the silverware. Clipping on a training schedule to the end of an already arduous season, his charges threw themselves into the task at hand. "We trained for a month before the start of the tournament joining the First Team at their Crossfit sessions and getting the conditioning of the boys up to a good level", said Benade.
Needing to end within the top four of their group, the BlitsBay won 8 of their matches to finish second and thereby qualified for the knockout rounds. Amongst their notable results were wins over the ubiquitous threat of Victorians and a very dangerous Helderberg team which had make a habit of causing upsets at this tournament. The Constantia team's joy at qualifying was tempered somewhat when they were drawn to face the hitherto unbeaten Brackenfell in the quarter-final. Luck favoured Benade's boys as the team from the Northern Suburbs scored a try in the closing stages of the contest, the conversion of which would have taken the match to a sudden death extra time playoff. The attempt slammed into the crossbar and False Bay progressed to the next stage.
Admirably captained by Luke Jacobs, the False Bay squad showed great character throughout the knockout stage with flyers Fielies and Smith in the vanguard of the attack and defence, their workrate recognized through their selection for higher honours. The entire squad was bristling with confidence and by time they encountered Franchhoek in the semi-final, they were rampant on attack, qualifying for the final with an emphatic 36-12 victory.
Two teams make a contest and in the meantime St George's had earned the right to contend for championship glory with victories over Maties, UWC and Belhar en route to their showdown with the men from the other side of the False Bay.
The Strand team took an early lead with a try but the Bay struck back with a Smith five-pointer. Both teams showed signs of the rigors of a day of testing knockout Sevens rugby, but refused to capitulate and combined to concoct a most entertaining Final, filled with quality rugby, suspense and a cliffhanging finish in injury time. With the Constantia team three points ahead and the final whistle looming, St Georges showed patience and nerve to retain the ball through multiple phases, breaking the line and in the process, Bay hearts, to take honours.
St Georges, with a rigorous route to glory were deserved winners of the title. On the flipside, Benade and his boys can take great pride in their success at this tournament and played their fair part in an enjoyable tournament.
False Bay RFC hold their Annual Awards Dinner on Saturday night and any members wishing to attend are welcome to contact Byron Mohr at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Jon Harris