In an enthralling encounter at City Park on Freedom Day, Motorvaps False Bay RFC triumphed over a strong University of the Western Cape. The final score was 44-24 after the Bay led 20-5 at the break.
UWC, fresh from their Varsity Cup 2022 campaign, were always expected to pose a serious danger to their visitors, while the Bay, having last seen league action almost a month earlier, were keen to get their cogs oiled and running.
Their match against Villager FC 10 days earlier turned out to be a no-show as the Claremont side were forced to forfeit the fixture, and with the Bay’s north-south clash against Durbell RFC at Constantia on Saturday, a build-up of momentum was crucial.
Just like in their season-opener against Hamlets, the Bay swamped their opponents in the beginning, planting their flag firmly in the 22-metre area of UWC for the first quarter-hour, without converting to points, barring two Ewan Adams penalty conversions which gave them sparse return on investment for their efforts.
In fact, if it wasn’t for the heroics of lock Busanda Mabena, who in a short span of time made two crucial turnovers while UWC were swarming on attack, the Bay could have found themselves playing catch-up rugby, the dread of any outfit facing university teams.
The mobile second-rower was almost certainly man-of-the-match, and featured throughout the contest, later being rewarded with a brace of tries for his heroics.
The Bay settled down after those turnarounds and then proceeded to exert pressure on their hosts.
The Constantia pack was outstanding, eclipsing their opponents in all facets, although the students were no pushovers up front. The Bay’s front row of David Geffen, George Fritz and Tariq Allen munched their opposition come scrum time, to the delight of travelling support, Allen receiving thunderous applause when substituted in the second half. Fritz crowned his scrumming prowess with a sparkling performance in the loose. Mabena’s lock partner, lanky Etienne Oosthuizen, himself a former Varsity Cup player, revelled in the contest.
Feeling the urgency to convert dominance into points, especially before the break, the Bay settled into the habit of converting their hard work into points.
Excellently marshalled by half backs Niyaz Johnson and Adams, the Bay men scored two tries in the opening 40 minutes compared to the single unconverted effort of UWC. After the initial stages of the half, where parity between the teams was evident, traffic in the opening stanza was more or less all that of the Bay. They looked particularly dangerous when they spread the ball to the wings where flyers Danie Roux and Chadley Cloete had the opponents scrambling.
Considering the stiff breeze which would be at the UWC backs in the second half, a 20-5 half-time lead was perhaps not that commanding, but the Bay were in control and scored another three tries before the students scored their first of the second half. By this time, UWC had begun to play their rugby, counter-attacking with pace and sleight of hand but the Bay managed to contain their attacks. All the while continuing their own display of expansive, quick-passing rugby.
By time the final whistle to a highly entertaining contest had sounded, UWC had achieved their “bare-minimum” objective, that of a four-try bonus point and the Bay had bagged a full-house of league points.
Bonus points and points difference may well become of vital importance later on in the season at both ends of the table.
Last Saturday saw Union-Milnerton register their first ever victory over the Maties, whom they beat 24-19 at Theo Marais Park.
Motorvaps False Bay RFC host Durbell RFC at Constantia on Saturday May 7. The visitors have played two matches to date, having competed in an unofficial club championships in Durban over Easter. The on-field rivalry between the two clubs has become an outstanding feature of the SLA in recent seasons and Saturday sees a resumption of this after the Covid-enforced rugby famine. It promises to be an interesting contest, the heavy-forwards based game of Durbell versus the more mobile, wider spread game of the Constantia outfit.
The first games on Saturday kick off at 1.30pm with a full schedule of four matches. The main game starts at 4pm. All are welcome.