Around the world it is rugby fever and at False Bay RFC, the temperature is rising higher and higher.
Eight days of glorious rugby at all levels kicked off on Saturday when Motorvaps False Bay saw off a determined Wesbank from Malmesbury in their Gold Cup encounter at the Phillip Herbstein Fields. The final score was 41-31 after the Bay led 36-7 at half time.
This second-round fixture was the first in a series of matches taking place either at the Constantia club or involving one of the Bay’s teams. On Tuesday the SA Women’s Rugby team hosted San Clemente Rhinos, the USA Women’s National team. Stealing the headlines on this fixture was the debut of Samantha Els, daughter of South African Golf Legend Ernie, at lock. The Springbok Women won a tough encounter, 22-17.
Adding to the rugby potpourri for the week was a match between Young Wesley’s and Titans on Wednesday night. Neither club has floodlit facilities and the community spirit burnt brightly as the Bay opened their doors for the teams to thrive under lights, a rare occasion so easily taken for granted by many. Thursday (tonight) sees the False Bay FIFOs, perennial contests for Reserve League honours face Durbell in the first semi-final of the league.
All this, with the backdrop of international rugby-mania, sets the scene for the main club event of the week, False Bay’s Gold Cup quarter-final match against Naka Bulls of Pretoria. Having reached the last 16 by beating Heidelberg RFC from the South Western Districts on the previous Saturday, the Bay hosted Wesbank RFC (of Malmesbury) on Saturday.
Like their hosts, Wesbank were previous contestants in the Gold Cup. False Bay were crowned Gold Cup Champions in 2017 and are revelling in the opportunity to compete on the national stage again, automatic entry as defending Super League A Champions their passport to the prestigious competition.
Three Cape Town teams started the competition, Uni-Mil and Tygerberg both suffered first round losses, indicating the quality of teams participating and False Bay Coach, Ashley Wells, was determined to progress further than just the last 16.
The hosts produced a first half performance which saw them build a healthy lead, sufficient to allow Wells to run his bench. The 29-point lead was chipped at by the visitors, as they took advantage of the break in momentum substitutions sometimes brings.
In the end, False Bay’s lead proved to be sufficient and the coaching panel would be satisfied in both their quality of their attacking game and general defence. Their propensity to forfeit penalties under pressure is maybe an area requiring attention in the build up to their contest against Naka Bulls, who possess a kicker more than willing to slot any goalable kicks coming his way.
The Bay’s 7-5 try count is testimony to both their attacking game and lapses in concentration. Doubtlessly the players, committed and energised by their participation in the competition, will step up a notch or two, but the positives of their performance outweigh the negatives. Young talent is being blooded, or if not newcomers to this level of competition, they are demonstrating their potential. Under-21 prop, Nizaar Nazier occupies his place on the one end of the spectrum.
Powerfully built and probably more comfortable at loosehead than tight, he played the number three role to a level beyond his years. Further down the young talent scale were centres Joshua Florens and Darren Jaftha, both of whom cut the line on occasion while keeping their defence intact.
Wing Ryno Mapoe was exciting with ball in hand, grabbing a brace of tries for his efforts, and halfbacks Niyaaz Johnson and Ewan Adams conducted proceedings masterfully. Up front hooker Niel Rautenbach and eighthman Busanda Mabena shone in a pack which glowed collectively.
False Bay now stands on the threshold of progressing to the semi-finals of a competition which has a major role in being the lifeblood of senior rugby. There is a shift to the realisation that club rugby has a greater role to play in the domestic game and hopefully the day where the competition becomes a fixture on the calendar as opposed to a penciled in possibility is not far away. The contest at Constantia will be keenly contested and rugby enthusiasts in the Southern Suburbs may find it a contest to put them in the mood for entertaining, close contests, which the Springboks versus Ireland match most definitely will be later in the evening. No time clash in the scheduling of these two matches and Cape Town club rugby fans are urged to attend in support of the last hope in this year’s national competition.
Kick off at Constantia is at 3.30pm. Entry is R20. Pupils enter free of charge.