Picture: Gavin Whiters
Four tough encounters on consecutive Saturdays await the Bay, starting with a trip to Theo Marais sportsfield in Milnerton on Saturday before hosting UCT the following week.
The Bay have not had things their own way this year. Other SLA clubs are preparing better for matches, including technical analysis of their opponents and casting the eye further back, in their physical preparedness for a tough season.
Previously, False Bay’s fitness has been a trump card, allowing them to turn the screws in the last quarter as the legs of their opponents turned to jelly and gaps opened to be exploited.
As witnessed against Brackenfell in their last match a fortnight ago, the big boys from the north never displayed any of the symptoms of last-minutes fatigue and stayed within reach to earn an extra bonus point in the narrow loss.
False Bay coach Johnno van der Walt is a wily thinker of the game and would have noted areas of risk, far more than any observer on the sideline, and the excitement of the upcoming fixtures is palpable.
“The SLA hits the business end as we end off July and head into the last eight weeks of the 2019 season,” says Van der Walt, incorporating the knockouts which determine the home of the SLA season in his comment.
The top-six finishers in the SLA compete for the league crown in a knockout competition after the completion of the league per se. Clubs finishing in first and second position have automatic entry into the semi-finals, while the clubs finishing in third to sixth position contest a quart-final stage to progress to the next round.
“We have a mountain to climb and play arguably four of the top six teams over the next four weeks. Should we confirm a spot in the top six we will have to face them again in the playoffs,” says Van der Walt.
False Bay have two home and two away games before the end of the league campaign, with the most imminent being a tough encounter against a high-quality Uni-Mil on Saturday.
It is common for supporters to project their fears onto those on the pitch, often in a manner laden with scenarios of what can go wrong. It is this premise two quality teams, well-prepared – by Van der Walt and the Uni-Mil coach Isma-eel Dollie – that is sure to dish up a contest of high quality, entertaining rugby at Milnerton on Saturday.
“This is why we put the hours of training in on and off the field to test ourselves against the best in the Province, week in and week out. We look forward to the challenge and will, as usual, be taking it game by game,” said Van der Walt.
Saturday promises to be a day of entertaining rugby, which kicks off with the under-20 outfits squaring up. False Bay’s young guns appear to be hitting their straps, and the hosts are no pushover, which means the Bay’s Second and Third Teams, hitherto unbeaten, will have to work hard to keep their record intact.
For those interested in following matchday scores, False Bay have launched their own app. This is available for free o from the App Store. Simply search for False Bay RFC and download. First games at Theo Marais Park kick off at 1.20pm with the main encounter starting at 4pm.
Jon Harris is a member of False Bay RFC.