FALSE BAY GAIN EARLY EDGE
In a pre-season friendly match contested at Constantia, DirectAxis False beat Hamiltons Sea Point 27-19 after leading 17-7 at the break.
“Friendly match” is perhaps a misnomer for a rivalry as keen as this with the added incentive of the SLA title within the sights of both clubs for this season. Played with a competitive edge which delivered big hits and sometimes a little shirt-pulling, the game nevertheless delivered quality entertainment for the sizeable crowd in attendance, despite the big clash between the Stormers and the Bulls taking place a little way down the M3.
It was DirectAxis False Bay who opened the scoring after the referee awarded a penalty try from a five metre scrum which flyhalf Andri Claasen converted. Indeed the visiting pack were a little under the kosh in the first half as their young front row were put under pressure come scrum time by the seasoned Bay front row of Wesley Chetty, Vlam van Vuuren and Ashley Wells.
Hamiltons struck back almost immediately with a try of such effective simplicity, lock Meyer Swanepoel crashing over under the poles after the normally rocksteady Bay defence seemed to falter during the move. Veteran flyhalf Monty Dumond, again a standout player for Hammies, converted.
Both teams, short of a few first choice players, were full of endeavour, spreading the ball whenever possible. Hamiltons coach Anton Moolman, with his team ten points behind at the break, did introduce some more experienced heads and it was a different Hamiltons outfit which took to the pitch in the second half. The hosts, with some young guns in their lineup had taken line honours for the first half in just about every department, deserving their lead when teams changed direction.
Here 20-year old lock Brendon Wood deserves special mention. He secured ample ball roving along the lineout, especially effective at the tail. His loose play too was noteworthy. Lock partner, Simon Askew was effective and caught the eye with a number of carries. He was later rewarded with a try for his efforts. Replacement lock Shane Smith, another barely out of the Under 20 ranks, took his chance when entering the contest, making an impact with a critical lineout steal.
Hamiltons possess a top quality backline with Dumond and centre Morgan Newman, both former Provincial players, the foundation of their line. These two were always going to be the dangermen on the day and to a degree were negated by their opponents. DirectAxis False Bay too has a backline of note, with former Stormers and Pumas scrumhalf Dylan Frylinck and centre Riaan O’Neil, a Zimbabwe Sevens player grabbing some attention on the day. Frylinck’s crisp service for one was central to the mobility of his backline. O’Neil, a product of Wynberg Boys High, was a steady influence on young centre Roemark Smith, another graduate of the Bay’s Under 20s. At the back Adnaan Osman’s positional play was impeccable and his occasional sorties on counterattack gained vast territory for his team.
DirectAxis False Bay scored four tries, wing Justin Filies and hooker Grant Muller adding their names to the list of scorers. Claasen converted three. Hamiltons’ scored three tries, of which Dumond converted two.
“We are expecting a number of normally first choice players to return shortly”, said Moolman. “No excuses, the Bay deserved the victory. This is our first outing and we will get better”.
“We are still testing combinations and structures”, said False Bay’s Head Coach Johnno van der Walt. “Many of our regulars were not available but it was fantastic to see the youngsters stand up”.
Make no mistake, although round one may have gone the way of the hosts, the season is long and this is by no means an indicator of who will triumph through the season. Both teams will improve as the season progresses and the club rugby enthusiast stands to benefit from this type of rivalry as the season unfolds.
False Bay face Maties at Stellenbosch in another friendly match on Saturday. Kick off is at 4pm.
Photos Courtesy of Gavin Withers Photgraphy