DirectAxis FALSE BAY BRUSH BELHAR ASIDE
by Jon Harris
DirectAxis False Bay RFC showed their class and patience when they delivered a comprehensive victory over hosts Belhar at Accordion Park on Saturday. The final score was 41-0 after the visitors led 10-0 at the break.
With a stiff southeasterly wind belting into their faces, DirectAxis False Bay seemed a little unsettled in the beginning, rushing and slinging passes which led to errors that kept them camped in their own half for a major part of the opening quarter. Belhar, knowing the conditions all too well, were aware that scoring early points was the way to placing pressure on their visitors. The Bay absorbed that pressure through excellent defence and proceeded to dismantle a progressively tiring home team with a display of superb running rugby which entertained to the end.
Belhar, having played an energy-sapping midweek match against Stellenbosch University would certainly have been energised by any score during the first twenty minutes and as their attempts met with frustrating resistance, they seemed to lose direction.
DirectAxis False Bay recovered from a shaky start to control their variables better. Handling and passing improved and after a disastrous first lineout, this facet became the source of quality possession that it is. Belhar cleverly seemed to cut flyhalf Andri Claassen from his outside backs through their rush defence, forcing him to run the ball himself. Fortunately the stocky pivot is no slouch when it comes to ball carrying and he linked with his forwards to turn the ploy on its head. The Bay forwards carried the ball well throughout, which further drained the energy resources of their hosts.
Claassen opened the Bay’s account with a penalty. A few minutes later the Constantia outfit found themselves in a similar position and opted for a scrum with the aim of scoring a goal. The option proved expensive as Belhar turned over possession and using the wind to good effect, sent the visitors back to their own quarter. It appeared as if a day of frustration was awaiting the Bay travelling support.
Centre Byron Mohr broke the frustration when he scored off a pass from his centre partner Jason Pretorius who had received the ball from standout player Ryan Olivier. Each of these scythed through defences en route to a 60 metre score which ominously showed what the Bay was capable of doing.
The second half proved to be a different situation completely. The Bay forwards, by now in total ascendancy, exerted more and more pressure on their opponents, especially in the set phases. Belhar loose forwards Jonathan Zolani Mofu battled valiantly in a retreating pack and as the second stanza progressed, the home forwards seemed to capitulate under the onslaught.
The Bay front row of Ashley Wells, Vlam van Vuuren, SP Blakely and then Trokkie Lotter, reigned supreme, setting a power platform from which at least four of DirectAxis False Bay’s six tries were scored. Flying wing Danie Roux scored a brace in unusual but identical fashion. The Bay pack delivered a solid right shoulder from a scrum which saw Olivier pick up and feed to Ridhaa Damon who executed perfectly weighted kicks for Roux to chase and score. Both required an enormous amount of work by the winger who normally scores after running over or through numerous defenders, and his joy at scoring his second was perhaps an indicator of his own appreciation of these scores.
False Bay’s six tries were a culmination of hard work in primary facets of the game. Locks Graham Knoop and Michael Poppmeier delivered quality possession from the lineouts and carried the ball with explosive effect. Flank Brett Stevens was immense as a ball carrier and has been a beacon throughout the Bay’s eleven matches (including the Community Challenge where they were unbeaten) played so far this season. Van Vuuren was possibly the forward of the match, seemingly omnipresent on attack and defence. Prop Wells delights with his silky handling. At the tail of this pack is Ryan “Vleis” Olivier, a man mountain who is devastating as a ball carrier and feared on defence. He was rewarded with a brace of tries which he would gladly share with his pack as they were at the end of pushover scrums and were a demonstration of the Bay forward power.
Behind this pack scrumhalf Ridhaa Damon thrived, his two through-kicks for Roux’s brace ample evidence of his all-round skills. Claassen is fulfilling his potential as a quality pivot and diminutive fullback Mustaqeem Jappie enthralls whenever involved with the ball.
Belhar was certainly not the “AN Other” on the programme. They contested with fire in their bellies, a fire somewhat dampened by a grueling schedule which quite honestly is a blight on the club rugby calendar, one which effects all and when the number of byes is considered, one which appears to be avoidable. To have to face two of the top five teams in the league within the space of four days is tough for any club. As DirectAxis False Bay exerted more and more control over proceedings, their energy waned and they seemed impotent when given opportunities to attack.
Scrumhalf Johannes Rooifontein, flyhalf Adrian Roberts and fullback Junaid Arendse competed valiantly throughout while wing Frank Wagenstroom and centre Wesley Scott caught the eye on occasion.
Tries by Olivier (2), Mohr, Roux (2) and Jappie and 4 conversions and a penalty by Claassen accounted for DirectAxis False Bay’s points.
DirectAxis False Bay host National Club Champions, Durbanville-Bellville at Constantia on Saturday. First games are at 1.30pm and the main game kicks off at 4pm. All are invited to attend what promises to be an enthralling encounter.