DirectAxis False Bay RFC ran out convincing winners in their much-anticipated derby against nearby neighbours Villager RFC at Constantia last Friday. The final score was 48-7 after the Bay led 43-0 at the drinks break.
Derbies are always special contests irrespective of prior performances with the underdog always having the inside edge based on sheer desire. Friday’s contest promised to be no different in the build up. Played then instead of Saturday afternoon upon the insistence of league officials, crowd attendance was slashed by the arrival of the much-needed cold front. The curtain raisers were played in near gale force winds and driving rain. Quite miraculously a 90 minute window of clear skies and almost wind-free conditions commenced just before the start of the main contest.
Unfortunately the damage had been done to the pitch which was softened by the heavy downpour and churned up by the previous two matches, but both teams showed a willingness to run the ball from the outset.
DirectAxis False Bay were favourites to easily win the contest. The Bay is an extremely strong and well-balanced outfit while Villager are in a rebuilding phase and do not possess the firepower that their hitherto unbeaten opponents do but they certainly showed little respect for their opponents, especially in the opening quarter of an hour.
The Bay opened their scorecard with a breathtaking try by fullback Mustaqim Jappie, who bagged a brace on the night. The Villager defence had stood solid against DirectAxis False Bay’s early onslaught and they were not shy to counter-attack. On that point, the Constantia outfit’s defence has been outstanding throughout their season, this being their thirteenth competitive match of 2015, and whatever the Brooksiders were going to throw at them was always likely to be met with stubborn, organised defence. During this opening fifteen minutes, Villager were competitive despite the loss of centre Stu Pattison but Jappie’s try, soon followed by a wonderful solo score by left wing Wesley Hamilton, had the Claremont unit reeling and they slipped into defensive mode.
Minutes later right wing Danie Roux added to the Bay’s tally of tries, which flyhalf Andri Claassen converted and just a minute or two later, Bay had their bonus point try when big Ryan Olivier crashed over off the back of a powerful scrum. Jappie scored his second on the half hour and the contest was quite honestly all over. DirectAxis False Bay didn’t stop there however and scored two more tries before the break, one a penalty five-pointer for cynical play, the other by bustling Roux who seldom scores a dull try.
If the result was obvious by the break then all that was left for the visitors was to restore pride and this they did to a degree. They simply refused to capitulate and along the way proved to themselves that they have what it takes to stay in the SLA. DirectAxis False Bay did contribute to the Brooksiders’ improved second half by introducing their full bench within ten minutes of the restart, which broke their momentum considerably and seemed to encourage the visitors. Replacement back Damien Rawsthorne broke the duck on the scoreboard for Villager when he crossed the line for a well-taken try, converted by Daniel Clarke. Hamilton ensured the Bay was the last entry in the points section of the referee’s notebook when he crossed over for his second try to round off an excellent personal performance on the night. His elusive running and ability to do something with ball in hand makes him a difficult opponent for most teams.
DirectAxis False Bay’s performance was sound, built on the solid platform of forwards who deliver quality possession from primary and secondary phases. Locks Graham Knoop and Michael Poppmeier won all of their own ball and took a few of the visitors’ too. They were powerful with ball in hand. The Bay’s front row of Trokkie Lotter, Vlam van Vuuren and Ashley Wells were a force in the scrum and very effective with ball in hand and their loose forwards were outstanding.
Their exciting backs never fail to entertain with halfbacks Ridhaa Damon and Andri Claassen the talismen of a very effective unit. The back three of Jappie, Hamilton and Roux count amongst the top in the league. In the Bay’s slightly disjointed second half there was a sparkling display by Adnaan Osman, who sliced through the Villager defence lines on a few occasions, reminder of the quality of players at the disposal of the Constantia club.
Although Villager RFC were outgunned on the night, they can take much out of their performance. Prop Ryan Germishuys put in a sterling performance in the tight loose, carrying the ball most effectively. Eighthman Ryan le Roux caught the eye, popping up in support in defence and attack and diminutive scrumhalf Zubayr Abrahams was terrier-like, sniping around the edges and tackling way above his weight. Lock Luke Westgarth-Taylor stood out in the lineouts and tight loose. It was the character of the visitors that shone brightly, especially in the second stanza and the Brookside team will surely take courage from this performance.
DirectAxis False Bay now enter a six week break and play Hamiltons RFC next up on 4 July.