DirectAxis False Bay pulled off another heart stopping escape act at the death to return victorious from the University of Western Cape. They beat UWC 33-31 after leading 14-7 at half time.
In a high quality, entertaining and of course tense encounter, the Bay appeared to be heading for another victory early in the second half, until they were ambushed by a Udubz coaching panel, led by former Springbok Chester Williams, who employed their bench to devastating effect. It’s a standard ploy for his opponent, Bay coach Johnno van der Walt, who through an effective bench, piles on the pressure for opponents in the final quarter of every contest. Another area where the students matched the Constantia outfit was fitness, their own conditioning coming through in the closing stages as the visitors tried to regain ascendency.
With a stiff breeze at their backs, False Bay took the upper hand in the first half, the score at the break perhaps not a reflection of this. They displayed enterprise and a willingness to run the ball, curtailed by the rush defence of the students and some at times inaccurate passing. Nevertheless, the Bay’s intent was clear.
Udubz on the other hand were certainly not standing back. Their defence was sound, especially in shutting down dangerous runners such as centre Danie Roux. When the Bay did break their lines, they scrambled effectively to offer another line of resistance. When in possession, they launched brave attacks on the Bay lines, which was met with similar defensive resilience. False Bay did however breach the UWC defences despite their determination, with some ease at times. Wing Shuaib “Bom” Samaai dotted down the first of his four tries and scrumhalf Niaaz Johnson added another try to his collection for the season. Indeed, they were the only try-scorers for the Bay on the day. Fullback Karl Martin converted these two.
False Bay’s enterprise and willingness to spread the ball instead of percentage rugby came at a cost when wing Kurt Arendse scored after some inaccurate passing by the visitors. Flyhalf Keegan Fortune converted and the half time score was set.
Based on proceedings in the opening forty minutes, a False Bay victory seemed likely. The students had defended well, the aforementioned rush defence effective as a mechanism, and their forwards competed well in the tight loose. Locks Curtley Thomas and Pieter-Steyl Swanepoel provided quality lineout possession and eighthman Adrian Paarwater carried the ball effectively. But the Bay had enjoyed a possession advantage and looked poised to return to Constantia with a victory in their kit bag. By the end of the first quarter of an hour of the second half, they had extended their lead to twenty one points after Samaai had scored another two tries, which were converted by Martin.
Rugby is a contest until the final whistle as would be proved later, and just as the travelling support were beginning to breathe easier, the hosts amplified the breeze at their backs to gale force levels as they blew the Bay away in a flurry of point-scoring activity. First, hooker Jaques van Zyl scored, quickly followed by Arende’s second. Fortune converted one and then added his name to the list of try scorers, which brought his team to within four points of the Bay.
Barely minutes to go, with the wind at their backs, Udubz were inspired. They were unrelenting in their determination to break the Bay lines and snatch victory. Just before full time UWC succeeded in their quest to lead on the scoreboard for the first time in the contest when utility back Carlton Fortune scored to the rapturous delight of the home support. The try was converted and it seemed that the hosts had snatched a three-point victory at the death.
As on three previous occasions this season, False Bay refused to lie down. With a few minutes of referee’s optional extra time to be played, the visitors threw everything they had at the students and Bom exploded through a gap to give his team victory and to break the hearts of the students who had fought gallantly for a victory no one would have begrudged them.
False Bay hold second position on the SLA with a slender one point lead over Durbell. The Northern Suburbs team face Hamilton’s on Saturday and then Tygerberg the week after, while False Bay finish their season next week with an away game against high flying Brackenfell.
They host Villager RFC at Constantia this Saturday in what promises to be an entertaining and keenly contested day of rugby which starts with the Under 20 match at 1.20pm. The main game kicks off at 4pm. All are welcome.