FALSE BAY HEADING FOR A SHOWDOWN
DirectAxis False Bay RFC came through a tough three-games-in-seven-days unscathed, banking a full house of 15 league points to set up an exciting end to the 2015 Super League A season.
The Bay has the largest registration of players outside of the Universities and field eight teams including a veterans squad. All of the seven competitive teams are vying for a top-three finish (if not championships) in their respective leagues.
It is the flagship squad, the First XV which catches the eye and DirectAxis False Bay’s 15 league point haul this past week now places them in the position of a potential second place finish in SLA2015. Before that can be registered the tricky waters of Sir Lowrians have to be navigated and then victory over UCT at Constantia in the season finale on 5 September.
After a staccato performance against relegation-bound St George’s in Strand, the prospect of facing two dangerous student teams within four days posed a threat to reducing the Constantia club’s successful season to a fairytale. This squad is a mature one, with very clear goals and a plan to reach them. Judging by the improvement in their games against UWC at Bellville Campus last Wednesday and then Victorians on Saturday at Constantia, there had clearly been some soul-searching down in the team meeting as the Bay returned to the quality rugby they have played since the beginning of the season.
They delivered a comprehensive performance when they all but shut out UWC at a dark and cold UWC B-field last Wednesday. The score was 45-9, a display of running rugby backed up by ruthless defence. “Udubz” failed to breach the Bay’s defences, managing to keep their side of the scoreboard rolling through the accurate goalkicking of flyhalf Frederick Muller.
The Constantia boys by contrast seemed to hit their straps, led by captain Michael Poppmeier and backed up by the incisive running of the back three of Adnaan Osman, Mustaqueem Jappie and Danie Roux. Prop Wesley Chetty delivered his second best performance in a Bay, his best was to follow against Victorians. Veteran flanker Justin van Winkel maintained his exceptionally high level and must have that warm feeling of pride when he plays alongside one of the Bay’s finds of the season, flank Willie Coetzee. This young man is a tiger at the breakdown and a gazelle on the run and a reminder of a young van Winkel.
The Bay scored eleven tries in their two matches against the two student clubs last week, while conceding only three. Normally student teams with their penchant to run the ball, are able to gather tries without much ado, but the Bay’s defence was sound throughout.
By time the Victorians match had dawned, a bonus point victory was the only goal and from the outset the Bay opted to attack the opponents, opting for line kicks off penalties instead of goalkicks. There is nothing wrong with that plan but the weather was close to a squall and Vics were not in the mood to concede tries that easily. The result was that the students successfully defended three of these tactical lineouts and managed to reduce the Bay’s 10-point lead to five during the home team’s ordinary second quarter wherein they seemed to nod off.
False Bay’s second half performance absolutely blew the students away. When wing Jappie crossed for the second of his brace, the Bay’s bonus point try, the celebration of the team showed the importance of the score. The second twenty minute slumber aside, False Bay produced a high quality, fast paced and physical performance which left the students bewildered and surely a little tender on the bone.
Again Poppmeier shone, as did lock Brent Stevens, prop Ashley Wells, and the usuals of Ridhaa Damon, van Winkel, Jappie and Osman. Eighthman Ryan Olivier delivered a towering performance and his counterpart Jacobus de Kock was equally immense on the day. Outstanding too for Vics were hooker WJ Smith, lock Attie Janse van Rensburg, scrumhalf Braam Venter, and centre JD du Toit.
With two matches to play, False Bay are seven points behind Hamiltons who have completed their schedule. Maties look set to take the trophy and UCT, the Bay’s opponents in their final match are four points ahead of the Constantia team, making the fixture on 5 September an all-important showdown.