FALSE BAY STAY UNBEATEN
DirectAxis False Bay retained their unbeaten status in SLA2016 when they ground out a convincing 31-0 victory over Primrose at Kenilworth on Saturday. They lead 12-0 at the break.
By no means a spectacle of rugby, the match was constantly interrupted by injury breaks, some serious others perhaps breathers. It took favourites False Bay a half an hour to break the duck on the scoreboard. During this period their attempts to score were stymied by passionate defence and clever slowing of the ball at the breakdown. While it is not a popular game pattern, it is nevertheless effective in containing an attacking team to remain within striking distance of a “burgle” of the result.
The Primrose defence was solid for the most and they had done their homework on the Bay. Lethal ball carrier Danie Roux for instance, was policed by a posse of defenders whenever in possession, limiting the threat he poses as a try scorer. Their pack were physical in the tight loose and solid in the scrums. Flank Sizwe July was prominent amongst his peers.
The Bay were constantly on attack throughout the contest and from the outset opted to attack off lineouts from penalties received. As the half progressed and their attempts to cross the line were negated, the nerves of “those-in-the-know”, the supporters, began to fray more and more.
Fortunately those on the sidelines aren’t as informed as the coaching panel and the Bay’s persistence and refusal to panic eventually resulted in a try by standout prop Wesley Chetty, converted by flyhalf Adnaan Osman.
Moments before the end of the half, lock Simon Askew was rewarded for his outstanding play when he swooped on a loose ball and crashed over to give the Bay their half-time score. Askew is evidence of the depth of the Bay squad which has encouraged healthy competition. His decision to focus on lock instead of his chosen eighthman has delivered a robust and mobile ball carrier with a high work rate.
The second half started with the visitors in a determined frame of mind. Hooker Vlam van Vuuren scored from the back of a driving maul. He had entered the fray in the second minute after starting hooker Dasch Barber suffered a blow to his head and had to leave the pitch. van Vuuren had to depart the field of play minutes after his score because of a shoulder injury and it was then that the value of the Bay’s most recent signing Royal Mwali came to the fore. A 12 cap Zimbabwean international, Mwali showed his talent, experience and ‘bottle’ as he delivered an outstanding performance.
In all the Bay scored five tries, three of which were converted by Osman. With the unbeaten Hamiltons looming on Saturday, the performances of the squad in tough conditions and contests are of greatest importance and coach Johnno van der Walt has a wealth of talent at his disposal. He suffered the potential loss of five first choice players during the match but he is confident in his squad. As far as individuals and combinations go, the Bay is blessed. At scrumhalf they have two of the best number nines in the league in Ridhaa Damon and Dylon Frylinck and Osman’s performance at flyhalf showed the man’s class and calmness in that position. Centre Riaan O’Neil has been a revelation and captain Graham Knoop is a braveheart-warrior who leads from the front.
False Bay hosts Hamiltons RFC at Constantia on Saturday. Both teams are undefeated at this stage of the season, with False Bay holding onto first position on the SLA table by virtue of a superior points difference although they have played one more game than Hammies who narrowly defeated Tygerberg at Florida Park on Saturday, a penalty kick in the dying moments sealing one point victory.
The Bay’s top three teams each hold the lead on their respective tables, with Hamiltons breathing down their necks in each instance. The entire day promises to deliver exciting, attractive rugby.
False Bay this week celebrated the recognition of their performances in the league with the news that their coach Johnno van der Walt had been appointed Coach of the Western Province Emerging Team. “I am honoured but it is not an individual effort”, said van der Walt. “I have a strong support base which deserves recognition”.
The appointment will in no way effect van der Walt’s role as Head Coach of the Constantia club as training and the competition is not in conflict.
Saturday’s festival of rugby starts at 1.30 on Saturday with the main game taking place at 4pm. All are welcome.