Final touches for False Bay RFC before SLA

Robin Hendricks is stopped in his tracks

The visitors led 7-5 at the break.

While the friendly matches are experimental encounters for coaches, this fixture has become a regular feature of the pre-season schedule of the two clubs and victory is always a prized result.

False Bay coach Johnno van der Walt is using his team’s three-match non-league matches to blood players, develop new team leadership and to limit the impact of a long season which, like last year, includes the knockout stages of the Super League.

That rationale applies to Tygerberg too, the applicable variable being Tygers coach Anton Moolman’s position regarding his core of players.

The former Hamilton coach is a wily tactician and would probably be loathe to show his hand this early in the season, but this is point zero for him and he may well need to settle combinations in his mind, earlier than his counterpart.

The day started off well for the Bay when their under-20s, coached by Mark Lindberg, surprised their more fancied opponents with a 29-10 win. It is the first time in three years that the visitors had one over their hosts.

The tone for a Bay-day was set but the Tygers clearly never got that memo as they took the spoils in the second and third team matches before the main event.

The clash between the top sides of the clubs was an entertaining affair, filled with tries and tension.

The lead changed a number of times as the teams sparred, each scoring three tries with the Bay pressing relentlessly at the close, denied that winning score by brave Tygers defence.

There is still some work ahead for both coaches before SLA2019 kicks off in a fortnight. Van der Walt has some depth available to him, as demonstrated in his team’s opening brace of friendly matches. Last weekend, the Bay received Collegians of Mitchell’s Plain.

Both clubs acquitted themselves well and a day of exciting rugby and warm camaraderie. Captain Thabo Ngcongo is responding well to his new role with a number of players relishing the opportunity to start and stake their claim.

There is depth at the Bay, encouraging after all clubs suffered player attrition last season through the drought-affected season.

Evidence of this is the hub of activity in their reserve league teams.

The club’s fifth team, affectionately called the FIFOs played Masiphumelele First XV in an enthralling evening of rugby and friendship last week, while their fourth and sixth teams boarded coaches and travelled to the Garden Route with a three-match programme in Knysna.

It is what sport is all about, specifically club sport. Interaction, discipline, camaraderie, healthy lifestyle and the hand of friendship.

The Bay face Brackenfell at Constantia on Saturday. The day kicks off at 1.30pm and the main match is at 4pm.

Jon Harris is a member of False Bay RFC.