FALSE BAY MAKE HAY IN TOP FLIGHT RETURN
Mike de Bruyn
Sportswriter Mike de Bruyn asked for a little background information on False Bay RFC for his weekly article on club rugby. He found the Bay story most interesting and the Weekend Argus ran this story on False Bay RFC (Saturday Argus 21 June 2014).
FALSE BAY MAKE HAY IN TOP FLIGHT RETURN
Fourth-placed False Bay take on eighth-placed Helderberg in a Western Province Super League match in Constantia today.
A win for the Bay at Philip Herbstein will see them back in the top three and in a strong position to claim a place in the season-ending Presidents Cup (top six teams qualify).
UCT, the defending Varsity Cup champions, currently top the standings on 35 points (on a two-month break), Hamiltons (32) are second and two-time-defending SLA champs Maties (31) occupy third.
The team that ends the season off in top place wins the SLA title.
It’s been a remarkable season so far for the Bay (30 points) who were last season’s Super League B champions.
Promotion to top-flight status is nothing new for a club that boasts a proud record since being founded in 1929.
The Bay came to life in Muizenberg, then moved to Plumstead before settling in Constantia where they’ve been since 1971.
They won the Grand Challenge in 1972 with legendary Basil Bay as coach, Butch Watson-Smith as captain and a side that included the likes of Louis de Waal, Frans Oeschger, Otto Jaeckel, Des Newton, Eddie Fields, Derryck Allen, Richard Nurse, Gus Enderstein, Tim Hamilton-Smith, Dave Halvorson, Jeff Illsley, Mike English, Denzel le Roux, Dave MacGregor and John Day.
The Bay has on the way embraced colour representation and therefore takes offence when some claim they are a whites only club.
An absolute non-racialism and non -quota-ism system is in place at the Bay, and the club should be lauded it’s firm stand on the matter and overall contribution to the game.
It was the Bay that became the first club to field the first player of colour when Matthew Napoleon joined in 1979. He was an accomplished SARU player (prop) and was later awarded Springbok colours for his achievements. To be denied the chance to wear the green and gold is a travesty of justice for the man who to this day still arrives in club colours to support the team.
Napoleon's arrival was at the height of apartheid under the Nationalist government of the time.
The Bay went against the grain as they set about countering the poor relationships amongst the communities by organising a game against Olympics (now Lagunja).
The friendly encounter was a great success as was the food and drinks afterwards as bonds were formed.
Bay president Louis de Waal has also left his mark. He was the person who introduced Sevens Rugby to South Africa when he brought the game here after being introduced to it during his stay at the West of Scotland RFC.
The club’s best era was in 1994/5 when Nick Mallett coached the club. The former Springbok coach had a gifted side that went on to finish second to Maties, names such as Frenchmen Laurent Cabbannes, scrumhalf and Montpelier coach Fabien Galthie, Dale Santon, Julian Barnard, Harold Karele and Niel Hugo.
The introduction of professionalism after the 1995 World Cup in SA (Boks won first-ever title) proved to be a crippling blow for the Bay as they their talented players were poached away by rival unions.
Nevertheless, by sheer hard work and total commitment by club officials and members over the past decade, led by the passionate and dynamic humanitarian (Doc Jones) the club has made a return to top-tier rugby.
2014 has seen the Bay, who swear their blood is green, shock friend and foe with their performances. Coach Jonno van der Walt and his charges have nailed down six wins and two defeats at the hands of Maties (19-18) and Victorians (45-36).
They will seek a fifth win in a row against a Helderberg side that hasn’t done to shabby themselves. It should be an enthralling encounter and a high-scoring game is on the cards.