Saturday sees the kick off of Super League A 2022 and the excitement among club rugby fans across the Peninsula is palpable.
False Bay travel to Mamre to face “newly-promoted” Hamlets. The newcomers were promoted for the 2020 season and are yet to play a match in the top flight.
The post-Covid club rugby scene is showing signs of weathering, with many clubs unable to keep the momentum through two false starts to the 2020 and 2021 season and as a result, depth at some clubs is lacking.
The profile of match days has changed for the season, with the Third League being scrapped due to a lack of player numbers. This means that clubs fielding a third team will probably join the popular Reserve League.
The False Bay Women’s team have rapidly become darlings at the Constantia fields. Having launched in 2020, just before the announcement of Level 5 Lockdown restrictions, coach Zoe Naude has grown her squad of dedicated players from around 12 to an enthusiastic, dedicated group of more than 40 under-18 and senior players.
Initially competing in the Sevens format while the mix of tight forwards was being bolstered, Naude recently launched her Fifteens-format team, beating Tygerberg RFC at Sea Point 25-0 the week before in the Hamilton versus Tygerberg Friendly programme.
False Bay hosted the Brackenfell Women’s team almost a fortnight ago. The Bay, facing a physically bigger visiting outfit, played their game at pace, running at the gaps as opposed to the tackler, displaying skills-levels that were testimony to their hard work.
Contrary to the assumption that players are purely from areas nearby to the Constantia-based club, many players are reliant on public transport from areas such as Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha to join team mates on practice nights. The cost of kit is an added burden.
This Saturday False Bay RFC travel to Mamre to face Hamlets in what can be described as a cauldron, the fire being hundreds of fanatical club supporters playing their part in raising temperatures.
False Bay coach Johnno van der Walt and the coaching panel across the leagues may be the envy of some clubs across the peninsula but their fortuitous position has come as a result of hard work and a determination to keep the interest of the players while dealing with the repeated interruptions caused by the Covid pandemic.
He has kept the interest of the players at the club at a high level, maintaining fitness and match-preparedness which will stand them in good stead.
A reminder of the interest and determination of the player base is the Bay Internal Tens tournament, organised by the players and club captain, Henry Waite, which took place late last year after any chance of a league was throttled by the stop start nature of the lockdown in 2021.