The 2014 season reiterated that False Bay could compete in the Super League A. They had done so under Kevin Musikanth with third and seventh position finishes in their two-year visit back to the top and under a fresh, albeit unproven coaching panel, they delivered an impressive fourth place finish.
Both the player group and the coaching staff recognized that a different approach was needed, that the “same-old” would not suffice. Michael Poppmeier was appointed as First XN captain and was supported by an exceptionally strong and experienced senior player group which included Justin van Winkel, Vlam van Vuuren, Marc Davids, Ryan “Vleis” Olivier, Ridhaa Damon, Danie Roux, Graham Knoop, Franky Charlie and Andrew Whittaker, amongst others.
The Bay were determined to improve on this, not only in terms of the First XV but with regards their other teams, equally important in the Club dynamic.
In his piece already posted (https://www.falsebayrugby.com/the-poppmeier-era), Popps touches on the change in approach to fitness and team spirit, while van der Walt and his panel prepared the playing force for the season ahead.
With the President’s Cup taking place in February and March, van der Walt had a readymade platform to measure his player depth, which yielded handsome results. At the same time, the Bay marched on winning the competition with some large victory margins sprinkled across the results column.
Contesting for league honours in the SLA was a clear goal and with player depth growing, 2015 may well be the year when the club would emulate their only other championship win, that of 1972.
Losing four games as in 2014 would not place the club amongst league contenders, that much was certain. van der Walt had identified what would put them amongst the serious contenders and bonus points were as important as winning matches.
The Challenge Cup was at the beginning of the season and the Bay went on to win that, which set up their League campaign nicely.
There was more to come and False Bay delivered wins over UCT, Durbanville, Victorians and, the big one, Maties. A defining moment in the season occurred halfway through the season when False Bay were in the lead against Hamiltons at Sea Point, when a yellow card saw them relinquish that lead and suffer a stunning 23-38 loss against the old foe.
It was False Bay’s only loss that season and such is the small margin between first and second place of the SLA, that single loss cost the Bay the league. Keep in mind that Maties too had lost a match that season, to False Bay, but were crowned champions, their bonus points sealing the championship for them.
At the end of that season, False Bay made the President’s Cup Final but lost and their remarkable season came to an end.
Here are some statistics from the 2015 season, which may make for interesting reading: