In the second of their varsity tests, False Bay FRC suffered a 18 – 39 defeat to Maties at Stellenbosch on Saturday August 10.
The Bay trailed 18-19 at the break.
The encounter was a much anticipated clash, the Maties unbeaten in their nine matches to date.
With a large crowd in attendance, the Bay took to the pitch for the first time this season having their seconds, thirds and under-21 teams all on the losing side, the senior teams dropping their unbeaten tags in very close encounters.
Thabo Ngcongo’s warriors were steely-eyed and determined to take the game to their opponents. This they did with physical forward play and expansive running in the backs.
The Bay’s scrum, back to full strength, dealt well with their younger opponents, overshadowing them in this phase.
False Bay flyhalf, Ewan Adam opened his team’s scoring with a break close to the line, converting his own try.
He later added a penalty to keep his name as the sole False Bay points scorer.
Maties, never a team to stand back and ponder what went wrong, stuck to their game, flyhalf Reinard Fortuin unleashing his backline with crisp distribution or testing the advantage line himself.
They struck back with a try by fullback Adriaan van der Bank, who converted to reduce False Bay’s lead to three points.
The Bay, spreading the ball to give their backline some space stunned their opponents with a well-executed try by wing Mustaqeem Jappie, a 50-metre counter attack which enthralled even the most die hard of the opposition fans.
Adam later added two penalties to his tally, to give the Bay their 18 point first half haul.
All the while the Stellenbosch students stuck to their structure and game plan, hot on the heels of the Bay.
Fortuin scored a try, duly converted by the accurate Van der Bank, and Maties were a mere six points behind their guests with the half time break approaching.
The Bay would have valued that lead changing sides, but it was not to be as Maties eighth-man Joe Swart scored under the poles, and Van der Bank gave his team the lead with the conversion. Swart, a classical number eight, roaming the field in defence and attack, was one of Stellenbosch’s outstanding players on the day.
A one-point difference at the break and the second half promised to be another closely contested, physical and entertaining 40 minutes of quality rugby.
With the score at 32-18, not only die hard Bay fans, there in numbers, were of the belief that two goals were possible to equalise and position themselves for a stolen victory.
False Bay were relentless in their attack, enjoying territorial advantage and exerting pressure on their opponents, which converted into penalisable transgressions.
Those much-desired tries were not to be. A solid defence and aggressive primary phase play by the students, blunted the Bay’s attacks and the final nail was slammed into place with a 50 metre try at the death.
False Bay are joint second on the SLA table and play their final match, the third consecutive match against students, UWC, on Saturday.
The game will start at 4pm
Jon Harris is a member of False Bay RFC.