SLA sides gear up for tough stretch

False Bays Brandon Wood, pictured in last weeks WPRFU Super League A match against Brackenfell, will be one of the key players when his side takes on Uni-Mil, on Saturday. Picture: Gavin Whiters

With the Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) Super League A (SLA) slowly approaching business end, the top sides are in for tough matches in the coming weeks.

At Stephan Oval, a dominant display by Hamilton saw them winning 52-5 against Primrose.

The victory saw Hammies move up to eighth spot on the log after four wins, one draw and five defeats in their campaign.

As expected, Hammies dominated the Roses at the weekend, but they will hope to carry on this winning streak when they face an unbeaten Stellenbosch side away on Saturday.

The students will be fresh from a university holidays with the anticipation of winning their fifth game at the weekend.

The last time Maties played was during their 23-20 hard fought win against arch-rivals, UCT, at the Green Mile rugby field in Rondebosch, two months ago.

After the fixture against Maties, Hammies will be on a bye, followed by the Green Point derby against SK Walmer on Saturday August 3.

SK Walmer is another team who has had a bumpy ride in the campaign. Over the past four weeks, they have bagged two wins and a loss, which saw them move to ninth spot on the log, seven points behind Hammies.

SK Walmer were on a bye at the weekend. Prior to that, they won 35-29 against NTK in Parow.

Walmers have won four out of eight games.

Meanwhile, False Bay RFC’s 2019 Super League A season, as tough as any before, enters high gear as the Constantia club start their final run towards the end of the season.

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 and as can be expected, their clash against Uni-Mil, coached by former SA under-21 flyhalf, Isma-eel Dollie, will ba a difficult task.

Additional reporting Jon Harris

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 8 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 perse. 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 6 we will have to face them again in the playoffs,” said 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 UniMil 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 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 free of charge 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.