False Bay RFC are gearing up for an exciting and demanding season, one which culminates in their participation in the Gold Cup, the national championship for non-university clubs, formerly known as the Community Cup.
SA Rugby last week announced the pools for the competition which will take place in September and October and the Bay find themselves in Pool C which includes former Community Cup champions Durban Collegians, White River, the title holders from Mpumalanga, the still-to-be-confirmed Valke champions and the Zimbabwe champions who will be crowned at the national playoffs in Harare and Bulawayo in June.
DirectAxis False Bay join defending champions, Durbanville-Bellville in the competition, with every romantic’s potential dream final a possibility. The two clubs enjoy a warm yet competitive relationship and carry the hopes of the Western Province to make it a double at the championship.
The Bay have three demanding pre-season friendly matches scheduled, starting with one against Hamiltons at Constantia on Saturday 27 February. This is then followed by away matches against Durbanville-Bellville and Maties before a two-week respite over successive long weekends. The business end of the season kicks off on the first weekend of April.
The Constantia club has been hard at work preparing for the challenges of this demanding season. Depth of talent is key to success and coach Johnno van der Walt has been keeping his finger on the pulse in this area. He has been overseeing pre-season training for the full senior squad, giving all players the opportunity to catch the eye by fielding an expanded squad in their two practice matches against Varsity Cup participants Maties and Ikeys.
“It is an interesting season as we already know we are in the Gold Cup but still have three tough friendlies and 14 league games before we can even think about the competition. It certainly has got the rugby public talking already and the excitement is building”, said Van der Walt.
Things are on the go at the Constantia club for more than just the First XV. The Junior Academy too has been hard at work under the guidance of coach Peter Benade. This Friday sees the False Bay Junior Academy host the Masiphumelele Junior Academy at Constantia in a joint training session which will be followed by a boerewors braai for the players.
Frankie “Beans” Charlie, the former False Bay prop now heads the Masiphumelele Academy and is doing wonderful work with his youngsters, his passion for youth and the game of rugby evident in every aspect of his role.
“A few weeks ago I read about “Beans” coaching the kids from Masi”, said Benade, “so I thought it would be great if we could get together and make a fun day hosting the boys for a bit of coaching”.
Benade’s own passion for youth and rugby burns brightly and with the help of Ryan van Niekerk, they have secured sponsorship for the meals which will follow the hour-long match between the two groups.
“Integrating the different clubs and cultures is really what we are after and hopefully creating an experience where both groups of boys leave with positive emotions and memories that take them further into the year”.
The afternoon kicks off with a 30 minute shared training session and is then followed by the match.
Proceedings begin at 4pm tomorrow.
There will be a collection of any used kit and boots. Should members of the public wish to donate anything which perhaps their own children have outgrown, please feel free to bring this along while enjoying the event at the same time.
* Jon Harris is a member of False bay RFC