THE MICHAEL POPPMEIER ERA

In 2012, Mike Poppmeier opted to return to Cape Town and threw his lot in with False Bay. He joined near the end of the season and took a while to get his engine running, his class and effect not fully showing until the following season.

 

Pops took over as captain of the First XV in 2013 and remained in that position until his departure for Germany, where he continued his on-field role as captain of the German National team.

 

Poppmeier’s role in the continued resurgence of False Bay is undeniable and perhaps even a little lost in the hype that followed. Just as Kevin Musikanth laid foundations, so did Popps, specifically in his leadership role.

 

A tough second-row forward who could do everything, Poppmeier ran like a gazelle, jumped like a kangaroo and led with a lion-heart. Off the field his charisma and joir d’vivre was infectious.

 

The success of the club is not due to one facet or person, just as failure does not belong to one person. It has been a collective achievement and we are reluctant to focus on individuals and apportion glory. There are many contributors to the collective; every player and every coach from Firsts to the Reserve Leagues to the Under 20s; every supporter who braved the elements and sometimes the opposition; every manager; the wives/girlfriends; the Committee; all deserve a pat on the back.

 

Our last piece focussed on the contribution of Kevin Musikanth.

 

Popps and his merry band of warriors were truly remarkable. Johnathan van der Walt, Ryan “Slab” Williams, Warren Berry and a large number of players carried the mantle next. What had been before, be it rampant success or narrow faltering over hurdles added to the Bay experience and tempered the steel that is our Club Character.

 

In 2014, the Bay ended fourth on the Super League A. The Coaches and players realised their potential but also the need to do things differently. They got together and set goals and mapped the 2015 season match for match.

 

We asked Popps to RECALL some of the preparation and outstanding memories of this time, which was a cornerstone of False Bay’s SLA and Gold Cup success.

 

Q:      AN UNFAIR QUESTION BUT NAME SOME KEY PLAYERS

 

A:      Where do I start? Definitely an unfair question as every individual that wore a First Team Jersey in my time at the Bay was a talented and unique individual.

 

Van                       Justin van Winkel

Vlam                    Andre van Vuuren

Snoops                Graham Knoop

Vanilla Gorilla    Ashley Wells

Trokkie                Gerhard Lotter

Vleis                     Ryan Olivier

Byron                   Byron Mohr

Disco Danie        Danie Roux

Musti                   Mustaqeem Jappie

Naani                   Adnaan Oesman

R9                         Ridhaa Damon

Annas                  Andri Claasen

Mark Davids

 

That list of individuals (I know I have forgotten some), coupled with great coaching staff (GEES) is a smart little recipe for success both on and off the field.

 

The fun we had off the pitch was a massive positive to our on-field success.

 

What type of preparation for the season was involved?

 

Man runs: Runs in the mountain on trails sought out by the coaches, Van and Vlam. (I only did it once).

 

5am gym sessions with Slab and Jonno

 

Crossfit

 

This gave us a mental advantage, training at that intensity for working men/students I believe often won us games in the last 20 minutes.

 

Some memories during your time.

 

So many! 54 games for the Bay and only 4 losses I believe.

 

Turning point was beating Durbell in Durbanville on a Friday night.

 

I remember Danie’s prayer that night before kick-off, dropping the F-bomb mid-prayer. It’s no wonder a car rolled down a hill and bumped into his Audi.

 

Beating Maties at home in 2015 will go down as one of my finest moments at False Bay.

 

Beating UCT in my last game at the Bay.

 

The Presidents Cup DOMINATION.

 

Name some disappointments.

 

Hammies have always being our Achilles heel, our loss to them in 2015 when The Ref (we prefer not to use names as we’re all human) made a massive call at the start of the 2nd half allowing Hammies to score from a clear knock on. That was a momentum swing of note.

 

Personally, not having joined the Bay earlier in my career was the only regret I had as a player

 

Losing a team mate (Francois “Sweis” Breytenbach). What a player and even better team mate.

 

Ending second to Maties off a fantastic season. It hurts losing the league to a team that you beat, but that’s sport for you. Of course, the season after I left, the Bay won it!!!

 

Any anecdotes? Readers love inside stories.

 

Me reminding the referee in Presidents Cup/Community Challenge semi-final that the game was being recorded. I forget his name, but he went on to referee the first 3 games of our SLA season. They were all big games which we won.

 

I recall he also enjoyed a Southern Style Burger at The Bay after a game. (Ed’s note: a lovely man who loves the game of rugby. He travelled many kilometres every week to referee matches and was fantastic company. A man who loves life and his fellow human being).

 

Our individual war cries for each player/drinking songs even for committee.

 

Almost getting divorced after a cracking fines session after beating Villagers at Villagers 2013. Basically, I had split my lip in a previous game and my wife was worried about me splitting it again against Villagers, as we were leaving on honeymoon afterwards. Every fine was consumed through a straw for me, adding to my soberness, eventually surfacing from the changing room around 1am.

 

LOVE THIS CLUB