False Bay gear up for bumper clash

Jon Harris

Two sides hitherto unbeaten and an equal desire to be victorious in a contest which promises to deliver top class rugby and a fight to the bitter end. That is the general consensus about this Saturday’s WPRFU Super League A clash between False Bay RFC and Tygerberg, at Constantia.

At the time of going to press, Tygerberg, like the Bay are unbeaten in Super League A 2016. That may have changed as at last night when the “Tiere”, as they are affectionately known, faced UCT at Groote Schuur, which can be a cold and desolate place on an autumn evening.

But with the form that Tygerberg find themselves, it may still be two unbeaten teams facing off at the Phillip Herbstein Fields come the weekend.

False Bay has been in impressive form this season, winning all six of their matches and only dropping one league point along the way.

They are growing accustomed to being the favourites with most opponents grabbing the underdog tag and planning to topple the Bay off of their perch.

They have seen off-spirited performances by opponents such as NNK, Belhar, Vics, UWC and UCT and have only dropped one opportunity of a four-try bonus point in their last outing which was against SK Walmers almost a fortnight ago.

Mirroring the Bay, Tygerberg too have won all of their matches but banking a full haul of bonus points along the way. Their route to this stage has been marginally easier than False Bay’s but not by far one must add.

The Bay were run close in their last outing when they narrowly beat SK Walmers at the end of a gruelling schedule of four games in 10 days. They had a bye this past weekend and by comparison their opponents may just arrive with rubber legs, their third top notch opponents in seven days. It is a bewildering anomaly of the rugby calendar that clubs have at least one three-match week, yet endure regular byes which breaks momentum and effects the game as a spectator sport.

Having overcome a physical Vics side in a no-compromise contest, they underwent their second Varsity examination in four days when they faced an Ikeys team desperate to get their season back on track. Both these teams play a fast paced game which will certainly sap Tygerberg of much needed energy and possibly leave them with little in their tank for their trip to Constantia.

False Bay are by no means taking anything for granted. With their Second and Third Teams and Under 20As performing well too, the club as a whole is in a determined frame of mind.

“We train and prepare for each week”, said Bay Head Coach Johnno van der Walt. “We respect Tygerberg and will in no way underestimate them as a team nor their determination to leave Constantia with a win”.

* First matches kick off at 1.30pm with the main game starting at 4pm.

* Jon Harris is a member of False Bay RFC.

Indeed, and there is just a little more than a modicum of personal competition at stake. Tygerberg is coached by Brendell Brandt, a former Bay player. They have four former Bay players in their ranks, including Whalied Heyns who is in fine form. His duel with Bay eighthman Ryan Olivier promises to be a highlight of the contest.

Yet for all we may say about rivalry and passion, it is perhaps preparation and form on the day which may be the difference between the two teams and the Bay’s bye last week could be a telling factor.

False Bay’s pack is amongst the best in the league. Big, strong and mobile, they could be a handful for the visitors and if they gain the upper-hand, the Bay backline could become a factor. It however takes two teams to make a contest and Tygerberg will by no means stand back, their own forwards with Heyns in the vanguard no slouches when it comes to physicality.

It would be churlish to pin colours to the mast in the build up to the contest, unless loyalty clouds one’s judgement. It certainly is a match which is eagerly anticipated by the club rugby fraternity and promises to be a highlight of the season, even at this early stage. Spectator attendance is expected to be one of the highest in recent years and the atmosphere will be electric.

The earlier matches between the clubs also promise to be high quality and spectators are invited to get down early to enjoy the contest between two clubs at the top of their respective games currently.

First matches kick off at 1.30pm with the main game starting at 4pm.