In their final Super League A (SLA) match of the season, Motorvaps False Bay RFC overcame a determined St George’s RFC at Constantia on Saturday. The final score was 31-14 after the Bay led 19-7 at the break.
Going into the fixture in seventh place on the table, the best they could secure in the round-robin stage, a win would not elevate the defending SLA champions and the remaining fixtures of teams with games in hand, means that False Bay could heartbreakingly slip lower on the table by season’s end. Brackenfell in eighth place with a game in hand could leap-frog the Bay, while Maties currently lie in ninth position with three games in hand.
The flagship first team of every club determines the league in which the entire club competes, and so success is measured on that team. By that measurement, it could be suggested then that the success or failure of teams other that the First XV is of little consequence. Naturally, this is a ridiculous notion. Depth is paramount, succession planning another key element, but most importantly, club rugby is exactly that, a band of people uniting as a group to interact as players, friends and supporters. To this end, the Bay’s success is palpably evident with their Seconds, Thirds and under-20 As all occupying a top three position in their respective leagues. Not to mention their FIFO team, perennial challengers for Reserve League honours, and their Women’s XV, which continues to fair well after their heady start to the Women’s League last season.
Maties, hearts set on banking the SLA at the end of the knockout stages, slipped on a banana peel on Women’s Day, when they surprisingly lost to the very opponents False Bay now hosted, a hardy, talented crew, determined to win. The visitors, in their first season back in SLA have fared very well in the top flight. All too often, clubs entering SLA suffer a disappointing season in that league and return to SLB the following year. St George’s finish a very credible 10th out of 15 teams, evidence of their right to rank among the top 15 clubs in the WPRFU.
With this backdrop, the teams took to the pitch on Saturday, an air of anticipation apparent in all on the sidelines. St George’s came with a healthy travelling supporter group, the willingness of their fans to travel the almost 100km round trip from the Strand evidence of the belief of success they held.
The visitors, hefty up front, and fleet-footed at the back, contributed in no small measure to an entertaining contest, but in the final analysis, it probably was all-Bay as the home team hit their straps at stages. Their forwards, with veteran Ryan Olivier and eighthman Busanda Mabena leading the challenge, were outstanding. The former had supporters agog with a break from the half line, which saw him offload in the tackle to wing Daniel Hayes, who crashed over for the first of his brace. Late in the second half, Hayes streaked over in the corner, after scrumhalf Dylan Frylinck had set him up for the 10-metre dash, which was by no means a formality. The young flyer showed a great turn of pace and a desire to cross the line which was central to the score.
The visitors too had moments of brilliance but the inaccuracy of their game was perhaps their undoing. Scrumhalf Ronaldo Daniels had a surprisingly easy run to the line, catching the Bay defences off guard, while wing Fazeel Robertson hardly had a hand laid on him during his 45-meter dash to the Bay line.
All in all False Bay scored five tries. Prop Bornwell Grinji opened the scoring at the back of an unstoppable rolling maul. Serial try-scorer, wing Mustaqim Jappie perfectly read a pass to intercept and dash to the line. Centre Joshua Florence capped a fine game with a try which saw him alter direction to wrong-foot the defence as he received a short pop-pass from Frylinck. Pivot Ewan Adams, again in top form as the master of the piece, converted three of the tries.
False Bay now breaks for a fortnight before the start of the Gold Cup, their place, along with Tygerberg and Uni-Mil recently confirmed.
- Jon Harris is a member of False Bay Rugby Club.