STOR-AGE FALSE BAY TROUNCE BELLVILLE
by Jon Harris
False Bay RFC ruthlessly despatched of a hapless Bellville in a ten-try rout at Constantia on Saturday. The final score was 68-0 after the home side led 40-0 at the break.
The Bay, with a top six finish almost assured, were aiming for the mathematical wonder they required to overtake Durbell as the second-placed non university team in the SLA, thereby positioning themselves well for a playoff spot in the Community Cup. With Durbell facing the unpredictable SK Walmers, False Bay fancied their chances of reducing the substantial points difference advantage which favoured the Durbanville-based outfit, but it was not to be as the Northern Suburbs team routed SKW 71-20.
By the same measure False Bay’s opposition was not to be underestimated. Deeply in the relegation zone, a victory against the favourites False Bay would have seen them overtake Kuils River, with a game in hand, thereby escaping the dreaded drop. Two teams drop down to the SLB at the end of the season and two are automatically promoted.
The Bay appeared focused and determined as they took to the field. Their big pack immediately set about establishing dominance over their opponents in all facets of forward play. The Constantia front row of Roberto Lupini, Vlam van Vuuren and Frankie Charlie immediately established supreme reign in the scrums, with Lupini particularly ruthless on his opponent Mark Cupido. In the loose, the Bay forwards were mobile and gained countless metres with their incisive angles and power running. Here flank Andrew Whittaker and eighthman Ryan Olivier were prominent with locks Graham Knoop and Michael Popmeier in no mood to miss out on the feast.
But the man who made the most of the situation especially in the first half, was right wing Danie Roux. Having not played for his club since June due to injury and WP Sevens commitments, the powerhouse bagged a hat trick before the break, each of which was his trademark combination of sidesteps and “straightsteps” through opponents when going around was not possible. His performance enthralled the crowd, who only realised just how entertaining this pocket dynamo’s style of ball carrying is when they again saw him in action after an extended break.
Locks Popmeier and Knoop seemingly attached by a chord, showed up in support in tandem, in the process bagging the Bay’s other first half tries, the former scoring a brace. Flyhalf Andri Claasens converted five.
The second half promised the possibility of a three-figure score, if the home side’s dominance was a measure but it is here where the visitors deserve recognition. Clearly outgunned and with the result never in question, Bellville simply refused to capitulate and with centre Maxwell Stoffels in the front, they launched a number of attacks at the Bay’s defences which were repulsed and which kept their score at an undeserved zero. Even when given the opportunity to convert a penalty and break the dreaded duck, Bellville chose instead to take a kick for territory and attempt a driving maul from the ensuing lineout.
Barely a few minutes after the restart, False Bay’s standout forward of the season Knoop, suffered a serious injury which brought a premature end to his season and also served to break the momentum of his team’s performance. His departure necessitated Whittaker shifting to lock and Francois Breytenbach coming in on the flank. Breytenbach reveled at the opportunity and make a notable impact after his introduction, scoring his maiden SLA try in the process.
Wing Justin Fillies, who had an outstanding game, scored for the Bay as did veteran Justin van Winkle and Whittaker, just rewards for what was probably a man of the match performance.
False Bay host bottom of the table NNK on Saturday. This will be their last home match of the season and should they beat the Parow team, they will finish fifth on the SLA table, delivering on their pre-season goal of a top six finish.
The top six teams will now enter a knockout phase called the President’s Cup. The top two teams enjoy a break from the initial knockout round, while the four teams enter a quarter-final playoff to be contested at a neutral venue on the same day to deliver a “Club Day” atmosphere. This quarter-final playoff is contested on Saturday 13 September, with the semi-finals taking place a week later. The President’s Cup Final will be contested on 4 October.
Barring any upsets over the coming weekend, it appears as though False Bay will face Durbell in the quarter-finals.
The top end of the SLA reaches an exciting climax this Saturday when Stellenbosch University hosts Hamiltons at Coetzenburg. Victory for the Maties will give them the SLA title while victory for the visitors will give UCT the SLA title to go along with their Varsity Cup in the trophy cabinet. For the rest, not much is likely to change amongst the top six in terms of log positions.
With one match to play in the SLB, Villager RFC face SLB logleaders Sir Lowrians at Brookside on Saturday in what is effectively their do-or-die fixture in determining their company for the 2015 season. Anything less than two league points against the men from the foot of the Helderberg mountains will thwart their efforts to regain their top flight status.
False Bay invite all their supporters to attend their match against friendly rivals NNk on Saturday as a celebration of a successful season to date and a show of support for their final home match of SLA2014. First matches are at 1.30pm and the headline match kicks off at 4pm.