The runaway success story that was False Bay RFC‘s 2013 campaign was by no means coincidental. This was planned and delivered upon, but with the expanded Super League A competition and a changing of the coaching guard, the momentum of that success has to be harnessed at all costs and growth delivered in the new season.
The coaching and management panel, headed by Jonno van der Walt, is fully aware of the challenges and opportunities of their task.The players were allowed a short break to recharge the batteries so to speak. Not so for van der Walt’s panel, who were hard at work preparing for the return to the “Big Time” even before the 2013 season dimmed its lights.
“We parked this very quickly, as the Kiwis would say”, says van der Walt. “Our re-entry into top flight club rugby has begun and our determination to be competitive at this level is our driving force”, he continues. “SLA Super 15 has a catchy ring to it, doesn’t it?”, he quips.
The Senior Squad were split into two groups of around 25 players. One group attended its first session on November 4th at Crossfit Tokai, blindly ready to encounter three of Cape Town’s fittest athletes who would for an hour test the limits of every player in the class. The following evening the second group were put through the same workouts, relentlessly driven out of their individual comfort zones by the presenters.
Two days later, all players attended the open training session which involved 40 minutes of unit work and light skill sets and 20 minutes of what became known as BAYFIT. This routine became a typical pre-season week. By time the December break is heralded with the Players Braai on Thursday 12th, six of these gruelling weeks would be behind the players.
“We have also acquired Friends along the way”, says van der Walt with a wry smile. These 25kg military sand bags, have become constant buddies to the players, accompanying them on long runs and even been present on shorter sprints.
Saturday, NOVEMBER 30th saw 26 Squad members meet at Virgin Active, Kenilworth for a fitness test, which involved Olympic lifts, strength and endurance tests. “We have to see just where the guys fitness levels are”, says VD. “We have to identify any weaknesses and boy, there were some heavy weights been thrown around on the day”, says the cheerful coach. “Some of the local members thought we were the Springboks”.
Player numbers have grown and it is most encouraging to see that a host of last year’s successful Under 20 section are continuing their involvement in the game and are participating at Senior level. These young talents bolster the numbers for the new season False Bay RFC has gained to in excess of 20. Consider the depth that the club already calls upon, especially in the record-breaking Seconds and Thirds, and a loyal and proud group of players will compete for positions and deliver their best for the club in 2014.
“Depth is key to our success and managing this depth will be the challenge”, says van der Walt.
False Bay will only be entering one team in next year’s Cape Town Tens tournament which takes place in February. This is a decision driven managing the players and limiting the risk of serious injury which will compromise the depth factor. “We play top SLA club, Durbell in a friendly 2-3 weeks later and I don’t want to risk players unnecessarily at the CT10s”, he says earnestly.
“Yes, we can pick up injuries in our friendlies, but I would rather take my chances in the full format and besides, I can rotate and rest players”.
The 2014 season starts in a little under 4 months and van der Walt says there is still much work to be done, but he is by no means daunted. He is confident that the plans and structures he and his panel have in place will deliver results. “We’ll eat our elephant bit by bit”, he says with a smile on his face.
Indeed 2014 promises to be an exciting year for False Bay RFC. The upgrade of the Members Bar Facility is expected to be complete by the second half of January and the scene is set for a wonderful experience for supporters and visitors to The Bay. Entertaining, winning rugby on the pitch and a facility to be proud of is sure to expand the large supporter base the club already enjoys and the Bay Gees will do the rest.