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by Jon Harris


False Bay got off to a flying start in the Community Challenge when they easily beat Vredenburg in windy conditions in the West Coast town on Saturday. The final score was 83-13 after the Bay led 36 -13 at the break.


Playing into a strong wind and with not much known about their opposition except that the encounter would not be an easy one, the Constantia quickly settled into their structure, focusing on accurate execution. After all, it is only mid-Feb which in previous years meant still another three weeks of preparation before the commencement of pre-season friendlies.


Vredenburg have experienced great success in recent years after winning promotion at the end of the 2013 season and then qualifying for the Community Challenge in their first season in the top flight of the Boland leagues. They would have drawn further inspiration from the performance of their Second XV which held the False Bay second-stringers to a narrow 7-3 victory margin.


The Bay however is a powerful unit, even still without a number of top players injured and many in the Second XV knocking on the door or playing there to gain valuable match time. Their squad from last year is intact with a number of exciting players being added and the quiet word is that False Bay is one of the teams to watch in SLA2015.


With this in mind and a clear plan of where his team is going and what he expects at this stage of the season, coach Johnno van der Walt sent his team onto the pitch prepared and primed. What followed as a display of running rugby which entertained the sizeable crowd with a 13 try to one rout. Even the home support left the stadium enthralled with some of the tries produced.


False Bay produced a combination of power forward play backed up by the fast-paced execution of their exciting backs. Not that it was all brute force up front and deft footwork at the back. No, the big boys in the pack weren’t afraid of showing their speed and agility, with eighthman Ryan Olivier, prop Trokkie Lotter and locks Brent Stevens and Michael van Rensburg catching the eye in a pack consisting of outstanding performers to a man.


If the pack employed the footwork of the backs at times, their fleet-footed counterparts weren’t afraid to show their brute edge either. This was perhaps epitomised by a particular charge by the enigmatic dynamo, Ridhaa Damon. Having produced some moments of sheer brilliance from chip kicks to sidesteps while on the pitch, the diminutive scrumhalf then proceeded to barge over a noticeably larger opposition player when it seemed that his number was up and no amount of magic would save him. It was a delightful moment and underlined the team’s attitude this year.


Describing a match such as this in terms of proceedings would be unfair to the reader and the two teams participating. At no stage did the home side give up. They contested to the bitter end and took points on offer whenever presented. This kept their scoreboard ticking and earned respectability in that it is all good and well to score tries but if attempts are repelled then one side of the scoreboard remains on zero and with the Bay’s organised defence, scoring off lineouts was nigh impossible on the day.


Indeed Vredenburg’s only try came from a 60 metre breakaway kick and chase which still required a lot of work and skill to complete.


To mention outstanding players for the Constantia team would not do justice to the full squad which to a man performed exceptionally. Perhaps a special mention is deserved for replacement hooker Muneeb Galant, a committed player and club man who is more than capable but effected by the depth of his position at the club and who thrived on the opportunity to perform at this level. He was rewarded with a well-deserved try and a notable try assist.


Scorers for False Bay were Mustaquim Jappie (2), Jason Pretorius, Andrew Whittaker, Ryan Olivier (2), Justin van Winkle, Tauriq Davids, Galant, Darren Rix, Stevens, Ashley Wells and  Angelo Mackaiser.  Andri Claasen converted four and Adnaam Osman five.


There were some surprise on offer in other Community Challenge matches played on the weekend.  Never Despair beat SK Walmers 28-27 in Malmesbury and Hawston beat Primorse in Hawston. Roses lost 10-21 to Belhar in Wellington, while the Paarl Region beat Saldanha 30-24 away.


False Bay host Wellington Roses on Saturday at the Phillip Herbstein grounds. First games are at 1.30pm and the main game is at 4pm.



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