Having wrapped up the Super League A title the week before it would have been simple human nature for the Bay to take the foot off the pedal and go through the motions in a match which had no bearing on their log position.
Their opposition, deep in the perilous waters of the relegation sea, would indeed have liked a disinterested opposition to arrive. It was not to be.
Kuils River play a quality game and were expecting no favours, recognising that their fate rested in their hands and they certainly took the game to their more fancied opponents.
Played in icy cold, blustery conditions with the strong wind blowing straight down the pitch, the crowd were treated to a quality contest that despite the lopsided scoreline, was by no means a one-sided affair.
Indeed the home side were worth a lot more than their 7-point tally and it is a moot point whether it was their finishing or the Bay’s resolute defence which kept this in check. Both were notable.
Kuils River at times squandered possession with some ordinary passing, the wind interfering with accuracy, while the Bay were simply outstanding in defence.
The first quarter hour of the second half in particular saw the home side literally camped in the Bay’s quarter, launching attack after attack and benefitting from the wrath of the referee.
In fact, Kuils River attacked themselves into a stupor and came away with nothing to show for all their efforts, energy-sapping indeed.
All the while False Bay absorbed what was thrown at them and played their system-strong game. They accumulated tries along the way, nine of them in total, showing their class and maturity, even in the face of the frustration of the home side which manifested in some off the ball antics. While not condoned, understandable considering the situation Kuils River are in. Perhaps it is these two factors which have contributed to “Kuila” courting relegation because they by no means deserve it. They possess a quality outfit with very able players who play good rugby, yet such is the strength of the SLA that good teams find themselves in danger of the dreaded drop.
The Bay meanwhile deserve all their accolades. Their win lifts them to 66 league points out of a possible 70, no mean feat indeed. Coach Johnno van der Walt has a Gold Cup national competition looming and at this late stage of the season, needs to manage his players carefully.
To this end he rested a few players, handing starts to deserving squad members. Prop Wesley Futter and flank Alistair Mulholland were the two in question and both relished the opportunity. The former scrummed exceptionally well, delivered a high work rate in general and was rewarded with a try, while the latter left everything on the pitch, tackling and contesting the ball fiercely. Others to shine on the day were wing Danie Roux, eighthman Ryan Olivier, lock Brandon Woods and centre Riaan O’Neill.
Kuils River’s outstanding players were centres Llewellyn Moolman and Gershwin Moses, lock Wade van Schoor, captain Earl Johnson and burly prop Thembaleni Tsetsi.
Their try was indicative of their commitment and came from an interception 10 metres from their own line, which by time it had been scored, saw the ball pass through five pairs of hands which had all in raptures, even the visiting support.
False Bay’s nine tries were scored by Roux (3), Futter, Roemark Smith, Byron Mohr, Martin Sauls, Dylan Frylinck and Willie Coetzee. Andri Claasen converted three, Mustaqueem Jappie and Adnaan Osman one each.
The Bay kick off their Gold Cup campaign on Saturday September 10 and will also compete in the President’s Cup, the Top Six competition of the Western Province RFU.
This is an opportunity for the club to test their depth. These players have shown their capability throughout the season and realise that this is a platform on which to stake a last gasp claim for Gold Cup consideration. The competition starts on Saturday September 3.
* Jon Harris is a member of False Bay RFC.