False Bay RFC participated in two events which demonstrated the spirit of the club game in ample measure.
Their Sevens outfit narrowly lost in the semi-finals of the WP Club Rugby Sevens Tournament played in Bellville at the weekend while their first XV completed a ground-breaking tour to face Old Georgians in Harare.
With the reduction in the Gold Cup field to 16, teams from Zimbabwe and Namibia, valuable additions to the tournament, fell by the wayside.
Defending champions, False Bay did not qualifying either but organisers of the tournament can take pride in seeing the spirit of club rugby continuing through the strong relationship forged between current champions, False Bay and Zimbabwean giants, Old Georgians.
The two clubs first met at the Gold Cup in 2016 when the Bay travelled to Harare for their round robin match. A strong bond was formed, culminating in a cross-border tournament which, it is hoped, will become an annual home and away event.
Isuzu Zimbabwe stepped up to keep the excitement of cross-border competition between top clubs alive and the Rugby Series was born.
Barely 24 hours after arriving, the Bay were up against a motivated Old Georgians, with a throng of local support behind them. The visitors could not convert their strong start into points, despite launching phase after phase of attack. It was not to be as a late penalty snatched a 17-15 victory from the visitors, to the obvious joy of the healthy crowd in attendance.
It was the hospitality of the hosts which set this tour apart from other tours.
The results a week earlier seemed to further heighten interest in the second match of the tour, and an even larger crowd were in attendance to see False Bay hit their straps and show why they are current Gold Cup champions.
A relatively young team was selected in a calculated risk by coach Johnno van der Walt, which paid handsome dividends on the field. Wave after wave of relentless attack put points on the board and Old Georgians struggled to rally themselves, other than for a short spell in the second half when they managed a brace of tries. The final score was 62-19 to the Bay. The success of the tour is immeasurable as it has so many aspects to it. The camaraderie of the players; the meeting of like-minded folk from different regions of our continent; the community aspect and simply, the making of friends.
The spirit of community and hospitality in Zimbabwe was a feature of the trip.
“We met and played against complete strangers, got to know them well during the week and then we clashed against them again on the Saturday,” said Van der Walt.
Jon Harris is a member of False Bay RFC.