False Bay's SLA2019, as tough as any before, enters high gear as the Constantia club starts their final run towards the end of the season.
Four tough encounters on consecutive Saturdays await the Bay, starting with a trip to Milnerton on Saturday before they host UCT at Constantia on Saturday.
The Bay has not things all their own way this year, an indicator of the improvement of standard of rugby in the Super League A. Clubs are preparing better for matches including technical analysis of their opponents and casting the eye further back, in their physical preparedness for a tough season. Previously False Bay's fitness has been a trump card, allowing them to turn the screws in the last quarter as the legs of their opponents turned to jelly and gaps opened to be exploited.
As witnessed against Brackenfell in their last match a fortnight ago, the big boys from the North never displayed any of the symptoms of last minutes fatigue, well not visibly anyway, and stayed within reach to earn an extra bonus point in the narrow loss. It would be churlish to say that this is the case across the board, but certainly for their last four matches of the league competition against UniMil, UCT, Maties and UWC, it is unlikely that the last quarter will be the Bay against rubber-legged bodies.
False Bay coach Johnno van der Walt is a wily thinker of the game and would have noted areas of risk, far more than any observer on the side line and the excitement of the upcoming fixtures is palpable.
'The SLA hits the business end as we end of July and head into the last 8 weeks of the 2019 season", says van der Walt, incorporating the knockouts which determine the home of the SLA season in his comment. The top six finishers in the SLA compete for the league crown in a knockout competition after the completion of the league per se. Clubs finishing in first and second position have automatic entry into the semi-finals, while the clubs finishing in third to sixth position contest a quart-final stage to progress to the next round.
"We have a mountain to climb and play arguably four of the top six teams over the next four weeks', says van der Walt. "Should we confirm a spot in the top 6 we will have to face them again in the playoffs".
False Bay have two home and two away games ahead, the most imminent being a tough encounter against a high quality Uni-Mil in Milnerton on Saturday. It is a common downfall of spectators to project their fears onto those on the pitch, often in a manner laden with scenarios of what can go wrong. That serves to pacify the spectator in an odd way but affords those entrusted with the job no credit for their ability and preparation.
It is this premise, two quality teams, well-prepared by van der Walt and the UniMil coach Isma-eel Dollie, that is sure to dish up a contest of high quality, entertaining rugby at Milnerton on Saturday. "This is why we put the hours of training in on and off the field to test ourselves against the best in the Province, week in and week out. We look forward to the challenge and will as usual be taking it game by game", said van der Walt.
Saturday promises to be a day of entertaining rugby which kicks off with the Under 20 outfits squaring up. False Bay's young guns appear to be hitting their straps and the hosts are no pushover, which the Bay's Second and Third Teams, hitherto unbeaten, will have to work hard to keep their record intact.
For those interested in following matchday scores, False Bay have launched their own "app". This is available free of charge from the App Store. Simply search for False Bay RFC and download.
First games at Theo Marais Park kick off at 1.20pm with the main encounter starting at 4pm.