National title for False Bay
FALSE BAY beat College Rovers 30-18 (halftime 20-10) in the Gold Cup final in Constantia yesterday to claim their maiden national club title.
The well-earned victory in front of 4 500 spectators made up for last year’s loss in the final to Rustenburg Impala.
Rovers, the KZN champions, put on a brave performance on a hot, windless afternoon. The Bay were under the cosh early on which cost them three points, but they owned the park for much of the half and cashed in with three tries.
The first was dotted down by left wing Danie Roux, the second by right wing Marcello Sampson, which fullback Adnaan Osman converted, before one went the way of star flanker Taps Tsmondo, giving the home side a comfortable 17-3 lead.
Rovers flyhalf Chris Jordaan made a break and deposited the ball under the posts, then added the extras to narrow the deficit to 10 points going into half-time.
The second half was a battle between the 22s with both packs putting in big hits and not willing to give an inch.
Bay cancelled out Rovers’ penalty goal before Roux created and rounded off Bay’s fourth try, the successful conversion making it 30-13.
Rovers had to wait until the final minute for their next points, an unconverted try by substitute Grant Rattray.
It’s the one department where the Boks have simply not been able to settle this year. The only constant has been Siya Kolisi, and how well he has played.
And again, there are questions around the back-row. Frans Louw played at eight last time out, against the All Blacks, but that is unlikely to happen again – he was anonymous at Newlands.
The good news is Uzair Cassiem is fit again and should slot in at the back of the scrum, while Dan du Preez, a genuine specialist, is also an option. Louw and Kolisi should return to the flanks, but after the success of playing Pieter-Steph du Toit at seven at Newlands, he could again be in the starting team. Outsiders for a call-up include Nizaam Carr, Sikhumbuzo Notshe and Oupa Mohoje.
Playing Pieter-Steph du Toit at flank eases the dilemma of who to pick in the second row, and if we go just on the Boks’ last outing, Eben Etzebeth and Lood de Jager have the inside lane for the locking positions.
This is mainly due to the fact they’re bigger and heavier than Franco Mostert and may suit Europe better. However, Mostert never tires and he brings mobility and a high work rate to the team.
The good thing is the Boks are well stocked at lock and all four current squad members are class players, with their own unique skills sets. The Sharks’ Ruan Botha may be a surprise selection, especially if the Bok camp are worried about the ankle injury suffered by Etzebeth last week. Props
Oh, what Coetzee and his coaching staff would do for a fit and firing tighthead prop!
The injuries suffered by Julian Redelinghuys and Frans Malherbe have hit the Boks hard, but thankfully Coenie Oosthuizen appears to be ready to play on tour, and how crucial hasn’t he become, finally impressing as a No 3.
Ruan Dreyer, who has deputised at tighthead has, quite inexplicably when you consider how well he’s done for the Lions in Super Rugby, bombed at Test level. His place in the squad is in serious doubt and may be taken by an experienced operator like Ross Geldenhuys of the Sharks, who’s been around the block a few times. Of course, Wilco Louw will be the favourite to pack down at tighthead in the first Test. Beast Mtawarira and Steven Kitshoff will get their turns at loose-head, with Trevor Nyakane again likely to be their back-up.
Well, is there anyone better than Malcolm Marx to wear the No 2 on his back in Europe next month?
The Lions man has proved himself a cut above the rest and will be a key figure on tour. He was outstanding last time out but will face a different challenge in the four Tests, which will be played on heavier fields than he is used to.
Bongi Mbonambi and Chiliboy Ralepelle will play back-up again and one can only hope they get decent game-time somewhere on tour. The only other hooker pushing for a look-in is Franco Marais, but there’s no reason to pick him if all he’s going to do is carry tackle bags for four weeks.
Andries Coetzee remains one of the safest selections Allister Coetzee has in his team and he can never be faulted for being consistent in playing him in every Test so far this year.
But safe doesn’t cut it in Test rugby and a little bit of something extra is what the Boks need to be able to dissect teams from the back. Warrick Gelant is that player that possesses that X-factor and he has been in red hot form for the Bulls in the Currie Cup. Gelant is beyond safe, he is the Boks hope of scoring tries and winning matches.
Courtnall Skosan and Dillyn Leyds have hardly done anything wrong. Skosan has played in every Test since making his debut against France in June and has only started showing what a threat he is with ball in hand towards the end of the Rugby Championship.
Leyds has only had two starts after replacing Raymond Rhule and has had no opportunities to show the immense talent he possesses. A bit of size would certainly help on the wings with Makazole Mapimpi, Travis Ismaiel and Sbu Nkosi knocking hard on the door. Pity that Nkosi is injured, but Mapimpi and Ismaiel should be given a chance.
This is an area where the Boks stocks need to be fattened and with Jan Serfontein and Jesse Kriel not as convincing, Allister Coetzee has the perfect opportunity to throw in a few top performers.
Serfontein has shown glimpses of what made him the best junior player in the world a few years ago while Kriel is struggling with regaining the form that booked him his ticket to the Rugby World Cup two years ago.
The time is ripe for Lukhanyo Am, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Francois Venter and even EW Viljoen to get a fair crack at the midfield berths.
Elton Jantjies has held his own in the number 10 jumper but has struggled to replicate the scintillating form he showed for the Lions.
It could just be a conservative game-plan that prevents him from playing his natural running game or trying too much to prove his detractors wrong.
But Jantjies doesn’t look in control and as assured in the Green and Gold as he does for the Lions. Handre Pollard is eagerly awaiting his chance to regain a jersey that belonged to him before a string of injuries struck. Wonderkids Curwin Bosch and Damian Willemse have proven that they are ready for the big time.
Again another position where Ross Conje is a safe selection and the best of what have been ordinary performances from the country’s number nines.
In the absence of a genius a la Fourie du Preez, and Francois Hougaard having lost his mojo, the Boks have had to settle with the safety of Cronje and Rudy Paige, who is clearly low on confidence. Opportunity should be given to Louis Schreuder who has been consistent in his performances for the Kings and Sharks this year.
Taking the likes of Junior Springbok scrumhalf Ambrose Papier on tour won’t be a bad idea as he could be the long term solution to the ordinary.