SHOWDOWN IN DURBAN

30 September 2017

Photos: Courtesy Gavin Withers Photography

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False Bay RFC emphatically beat Namibians, Western Suburbs, 60-9 in their third round Gold Cup match played at Constantia on Saturday. The half time score was 34-9.  The Bay travel to Durban tomorrow for the last of their pool stage matches against College Rovers who lead the pool by virtue of points difference.

 

Those attending the match at the Philip Herbstein Fields in Constantia were treated to an hour of entertaining Junior Rugby as young players from the False Bay Junior Academy hosted the Vuza Sports Academy, a Bishops initiative which promotes life skills through rugby with an ethos of placing academics before practice. Over 100 young rugby players ranging from 7 to 12 years old took part on the day and the skills exhibited coupled with the obvious enjoyment derived was a delight for spectator and participant alike. It was an apt curtain raiser for a match which demonstrated the essence of Club Rugby.

 

Rugby in Namibia is still predominantly amateur, with club rugby still on a learning curve in terms of preparation, fitness and skills training. Western Suburbs have embraced the new order of club rugby, introducing new systems and a younger coaching panel and their stated goal is to develop and return to next year’s Gold Cup better from the experience. Whatever their goals are, their commitment to playing rugby was undeniable and they contributed in no small way to an entertaining contest.

 

However, nine unanswered tries is sufficient indication of the dominance the Bay exerted in all phases of the contest. It didn’t take long for the home side to open their account, a well-worked try off a lineout which saw lock Brent Stevens crash over under the poles. The second rower delivered a fine performance in his swansong as the curtain is drawn on a longevities club rugby career.

 

Another veteran who reveled in the space of an open game was prop Ashley Wells. His solid scrumming, where he combined well with fellow front rowers Vlam van Vuuren and relative “newby” Wesley Futter was the platform on which the home team built their dominance. Wells had the crowd (and the home team bench) in raptures when he initiated a seventy meter try with some deft handling which included a voluminous show-and-go, the defence buying the dummy and ended with flank Jody Reineke getting the first of his brace of tries.

 

The Bay’s performance was sound on the day, with dominance in all facets of the game. If criticism should find place in the analysis, perhaps they squandered some scoring opportunities with inaccuracies in execution, but that may be over-critical considering the surfeit of possession they enjoyed. Indeed, the home side starved the visitors of the ball, their three penalty conversions the only success on the scoreboard.

 

The Constantia outfit enjoyed a bye over the long weekend a fortnight ago and there may have been a little rust preset. The match provided a platform to prepare for Saturday’s table deciding clash in Durban against College Rovers. “Team spirit is something special at the moment”, says team captain Graham Knoop. “We have embraced the hard graft but have not forgotten how to have fun”. Indeed that has been a feature of the Bay’s Gold Cup campaigns of the last two seasons. The contest on the pitch is used as a platform to make new friends and enjoy each other’s company in the extended post-match function.

 

False Bay has already qualified for the play off stages of the Gold Cup, Saturday’s contest in Durban determining where they will play their quarter-final match, home or away.

 

“The pressure has lifted off us slightly but Rovers are a very good outfit with greater experience in this format of this competition than us”, said coach Johnno van der Walt. “They have a big, well-conditioned pack with solid backs and we are certainly without a doubt underdogs going into this fixture”.

 

“However, we do love a challenge at the Bay and look forward to the encounter”.

 

The Bay depart for Durban early on Friday morning for what promises to be a thoroughly enthralling encounter. A full match report will appear in next week’s issue of the Constantiaberg Bulletin.

- Jon Harris