The next phase in the return to the pitches for club rugby has begun with the re-introduction of contact training, with strict safety protocols in place to protect players against the spread of the virus.
False Bay RFC was among the first clubs to comply with these protocols and a visit to their fields on practice days is testimony to the hunger among young men and women to participate in the game.
The burgeoning False Bay women’s group under coach Zoe Naude, herself a provincial rugby player with overseas playing experience, is adding to the enthusiasm and energy at the club.
Zoe has not only represented Western Province at Touch Rugby, she earned her SA under-20 colours for the contact format too.
Added to this, Zoe coaches and referees both formats, a boon to newer converts as they learn the sometimes confusing rules of the game.
It’s clear that Zoe isn’t someone who just loves the game, she lives it. She went to the Netherlands in 2018, where she coached, played and refereed the contact game and her resume includes three SA High Performance camps. Her first SA under-20 cap was earned against the Springbok Women’s team.
The 2020 rugby season, as with just about any sporting code, was a no-show and at the time that lockdown was announced, the False Bay Women’s practices were attracting around 15 players per session, with this season’s attendances at around 30 players per session. There is a great interest amongst women to participate in rugby, be it the Touch Rugby or Sevens format.
Lockdown levels 4 and 5 introduced people to a myriad other formats of exercise, initially in the confines of their homes, but then as controls were relaxed, in the outdoors and women’s rugby offers another option to those seeking a challenge and a good return on their effort and energy.
“Recently we have had ladies joining purely on a fitness basis and have thoroughly enjoyed the different style of workout”, says Naude.
Indeed the current attendances numbers affords Zoe planning freedom to participate in touch rugby and Sevens tournaments, as these arise.
That is in the future and attendees are currently enjoying an enthralling, fun and effective workout under the guidance of a coach who knows the game and how to create an enjoyable environment in which to participate and learn.
Both formats expose participants to the thrills of the sport, while the reduced contact environment of Sevens rugby allows the more intrepid participants the opportunity to experience the burn of the contact game.
training sessions are on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 6pm to 8pm.
There are strict Covid-19 protocols in place. Contact Zoe on 071 879 1999 for more information before attending the session.
The hub of activity at the Bay’s Phillip Herbstein Fields gives hope that some normality is returning to life so badly affected by Covid-19.
Numbers at practices are impressive, with around 100 senior players currently attending. The under-20 section is also thriving and club stalwarts, the FIFOs, complete the picture on practice nights.
Two friendly matches are pencilled in for May, pending the authorisation of the Western Province Rugby Union and the continued recovery of Covid statistics of course.
*Jon Harris is a member of False Bay RFC.