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by Jon Harris


False Bay RFC got their SLA2015 season to a winning start when they emphatically beat a strong SK Walmers 45-5 after leading 17-0 at the change of ends at Constantia on Saturday.


With their Community Challenge campaign now history, the Bay were overwhelming favourites to take a full five league points from this fixture. Someone neglected to tell their esteemed opponents, or more likely, they were having none of it and it was Walmers who had the upperhand in the opening half hour.


Lead by their captain and lock Madeeg Davids, a burly, strong man, SKW took the game to their hosts, playing the game in their faces and doing their best to prevent the Constantia outfit from settling down. On the face of things it appeared to work as False Bay were unable to settle into a rhythm and Walmers found themselves with a number of scoring opportunities in the opening quarter.


None of these chances were converted and it is a moot point as to just how much a score or two would have altered the course of proceedings. What is certain is that the visitors would have gained immeasurable inspiration from a deserved lead after twenty minutes and may have made the Bay chase the scoreboard for a while longer. Instead False Bay absorbed the pressure, their defence outstanding holding firm, their patience in execution admirable.


Flyhalf Andri Claasen opened the scoring with a penalty conversion. The stockily built pivot now in his third season at False Bay has matured into a fine player and is controlling the game with authority and confidence. Inside him Ridhaa Damon, playing his 100th First XV match for False Bay was a presence throughout the match, shaking off the pesky attention of his namesake opponent, Ridhaa Fredericks who did his best to unsettle the icy-cool centurion.


SK Walmers were not giving up. A quality outfit with a big pack of physical forwards and exciting backs, they continued to attack the Bay lines but they fluffed their lines at the crucial moments, wasting at least three scoring opportunities in the process. How much would this have affected the result is debatable but wise money attending the match would not have panicked. False Bay is a quality outfit, and with minimum possession they slowly squeezed the breath out of their visitors, scoring six tries on the way to their victory.


First to score for the hosts was centre Jason Pretorius, who bagged a brace of tries on a short day (he was strategically substituted in the second half), as he broke the line off a set piece on the halfway line. Next up on the scorecard was skipper Michael Poppmeier who scored after a few “loop-arounds” by the Bay forwards off a lineout set up off a penalty. Claasen kept a 100% record for the first half to make it 17-0 at the break.


Although both teams competed in the recent Community Challenge, it was the superior conditioning of the Constantia lads which probably played the biggest role in the downfall of the visitors. As the match progressed their forwards tired and the gaps began to open and only desperate defence kept their lines intact on occasion. When introduced, their reserves made due impact but by then the game was already lost and the Bay were unstoppable.


The extra space allowed False Bay’s back-three of fullback Mustaqim Jappie, and wings (including replacement) Taliep Johnson, Danie Roux and Darren Rix ample opportunity to launch counter-attacks from deep. Jappie and Roux especially had the sizeable crowd on their feet whenever they laid their hands on the ball, both rewarded with fine tries for their efforts.


Up front Poppmeier and fellow second-rower Brent Stevens were robust in their play and a reliable source of quality lineout ball. The loose trio of Justin van Winkle, Andrew Whittaker and Ryan Olivier were outstanding. Prop Ashley Wells revelled in the loose play while setting his shoulder to the grindstone in the tight as well.


Walmers are a quality and determined team. They are amongst the top in the league and they simply never relinquished the contest. Their meagre points tally is not a reflection of their worth by any means but as alluded to earlier, they did squander scoring opportunities. Skipper Davids was well supported in the forwards by prop Sameer Davids, flank Ishaam Larnie and eighthman Ebrahim Davids. Centre Wilton Petersen worked tirelessly, while replacement scrumhalf Riaz Jappie was a real threat after his introduction to the match.


Wing Jainudien Meyer scored SK Walmers’ solitary try.


False Bay’s tries were scored by Pretorius (2), Poppmeier, Jappie, Whittaker and Roux, whose score was an exhilarating 70 metre run of hustle, bustle and bash as he escaped the clutches of 6 defenders on his way to the tryline. Claasen converted all as well as a penalty.


False Bay travels to the Strand on Saturday to face Helderberg. Main game at the Morkel Stadium is at 4pm with the Third XV starting at 1.30pm.


False Bay's exciting U20As also play in Strand at 1.30pm.


DirectAxis False Bay then Maties at Constantia on Wednesday 22nd at 9pm. The Thirds get proceedings off on the nght at 6.30pm.


All welcome.

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