STOR-AGE FALSE BAY GO ROSE PICKING
by Jon Harris
False Bay continued on their winning ways when they overcame a very competitive Wellington Roses 49-0 in their Community Challenge second round match played at Constantia on Saturday. The half time score was 21-0.
The False Bay playing force, from their Under 20s who won a thrilling encounter against their traditional rivals Durbell, delivered a clean sweep of victories on the day, This in a week when Club President Louis de Waal was honoured through the christening of the newly completed club function room in his honour. De Waal has been President for 29 years and has served on the False Bay Committee since retiring from a very successful playing career which included earning Western Province colours. He is involved in numerous humanitarian endeavours, the most recent being the Bicycle Empowerment Network, an NGO which assists in improving the mobility of people through making bicycles accessible to the less fortunate. He is also one of the renowned “Magnificent Seven” who has completed each of the Argus Cycle Tours since inception.
Playing with a stiff South Easter at their backs the Bay seemed a little hesitant in the beginning, perhaps a sign a fatigue as the squad still trains according to an intense programme in preparation for the Super League A season. Yes as previously stated, success in the Community Challenge is an immediate goal, but an improved performance on last year’s successful SLA campaign is the goal and to those witnessing the Bay’s performances thus far, a very real possibility.
Two teams take to the field however and to imply that this should have been all Bay from beginning to end would be nothing less than subjective. Wellington Roses have won the Boland Premier League four out of the last five seasons and although they have suffered a weakening of player strength from recent talent raids, they remain one of the Boland’s top clubs. There was no way they were making the eighty kilometre trip to Cape Town to suffer a beating and it showed in their play.
The first quarter was perhaps their best as they cleverly kept the ball alive, spreading it “coast-to-coast” as wide play is popularly described, at the same time splintering False Bay’s more structured game and keeping their bigger forwards guessing. If a criticism can be levelled, it is that they lacked incisive runners, perhaps underlined by their final tally in the ‘points for’ department.
It took the home side a full quarter of an hour to score their first points through a pushover try dotted down by eighthman Ryan Olivier. Indeed the Bay front row of Frankie Charlie, Trokkie Lotter and SP Blakely were dominant throughout their time together on the pitch and produced a perfect platform for play off-the-base. With captain and lock Michael Poppmeier’s return from International duty for Germany, the Bay were a dominant force up front, but a quiet warrior has also come to the fore. Lock Brent Stevens, a constant performer last season is standing out with his power display of ball-carrying and bonecrushing tackling. He added a display of impeccable lineout work to his basket of skills on show on the day and will surely be an integral part of the team’s efforts this year.
At the back there have been some exciting acquisitions, none more so than standout Super League flyhalf Adnaan Osman. This seasoned exponent of clever and accurate backline play is a boon to the Constantia club and his influence is clear to see, even in support of the team when warming the bench. Regular flyhalf Andri Claasens appears to be benefitting from the veteran’s influence and his game is sure to develop exponentially. Another man to excite on the pitch is utility back Mustaquim Jappie whose ball skills are more than impressive and vision simply awesome.
To think that False Bay still have the likes of Danie Roux, Martin Sauls and Justin Fillies licking their respective injury wounds creates an air of anticipation of some of the most exciting running play yet to come in club rugby and with a pack of forwards that the Bay possess, the platform from which to play is there for exploitation.
Nevertheless, after the Constantia outfit had weathered the initial storm, they set about scoring at a steady pace, scoring seven tries, each converted by the pinpoint Osman. The display of running, combative rugby was impressive. Yet equally deserved of comment was the commitment to the contest by the visiting Roses. Never did they wilt. They contested everything, not spoiled but contested. They played their rugby, competed for the loose ball, scrambled defences and were constantly in the faces of their hosts for the throughout the match.
The scoreline is no reflection of the quality of the opposition. It is very early season and perhaps conditioning contributed to the score but the Roses travelled the long journey home surely disappointed but hopefully cognitive of the pride they deserved. They had come up against tough opposition and left with reputations intact, although small consolation for those on the pitch.
Outstanding players were Brent Stevens with a remarkable man-of-the-match performance; Jappie whose ball- and footskills are sublime; Osman with his slick handling and vision; hooker Trokkie Lotter who is not keen on going around the opponent with ball in hand; and William Nortier, a hardworking flank who was under the radar but most effective.
For False Bay, try scorers were Ryan Olivier, Jappie, Taliep Johnson(2), Osman, a penalty try and Darren Rix. Osman converted all.
False Bay travel to Saldanha Bay this weekend and then host Hawston at Constantia on Saturday 7 March.