CAPE TOWN – False Bay are 80 minutes from being crowned Gold Cup champions for the first time.
The men from Constantia entertain KZN champions College Rovers at Phillip Herbstein Field today (2.30pm kickoff).
The Bay, the 2016 finalists, haven’t lost a home game for three-and-a-half years. No wonder their players refer to their field as “Fortress False Bay”.
But now comes an acid test of their credentials as they bid to become the top non-university club in the country.
The Gold Cup is South African rugby’s flagship three-nation champions’ league for non-university clubs and is staged simultaneously across South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
Twenty teams participated and were divided into four pools of five teams each. Now for the finale, and with their passionate home supporters in their corner, expect the Bay to come up trumps against the perennial KZN club champions. Rovers generally rule in the Moor Cup.
This season the Bay, as the defending Cape champions (they went unbeaten in 2016), they lost only one game and had to settle for second place behind the Maties of Stellenbosch.
The fact that the Bay beat Rovers in an earlier Pool D match 15-14 thanks to a penalty after the final hooter shows just how gutsy the players are.
And then last weekend at home they floored defending champions Rustenburg Impala in a repeat of last year’s final.
“That was a massive 34-21 semi-final win for us,” said Bay coach Jonathan van der Walt.
“Our opponents fielded the same XV that beat us to the title on their home turf last year, while we fielded a run-on XV minus 12 players from back then, so it was a pleasing outcome, one that showed that we have massive depth in our ranks.
“And again we’ll be losing many players again after the game but like I said, we have a conveyor-belt of up-and-coming talent for 2018.
“As for the final, it’s one that we’re looking forward to. Rovers are a quality outfit and we will have our work cut out for us.”
Teams For Gold Cup Final
False Bay: 15 Adnaan Osman, 14 Danie Roux, 13 Richard Lawson, 12 Riaan O’Neill, 11 Marcello Sampson, 10 Meryck Ward, 9 Ridhaa Damon, 8 Ryan Olivier, 7 Michael-Dean Botha, 6 Tapiwa Tsomondo, 5 Brent Stevens, 4 Graham Knoop (captain), 3 Ashley Wells, 2 Roan Dalzell, 1 Wesley Futter.
Bench: 16 André van Vuuren, 17 Simon Raw, 18 Brandon Wood, 19 Jody Reyneke, 20 Dylon Frylinck, 21 Carl Kohne, 22 Mustaqeem Jappie.
College Rovers: 15 Gavin Scott, 14 Mark Richards, 13 Richard Bamber, 12 Brandon Bailing, 11 Tythan Adams, 10 Chris Jordaan (captain), 9 Grant Williams, 8 Kelvin Adam, 7 Graham Geldenhuys, 6 Matthew-Lee Jones, 5 Chris van Leeuwen, 4 Matt Tweddle, 3 Thierry Kaute, 2 Byron van der Nest, 1 Jarrett Crouch.
Bench: 16 Jandré Jacobs, 17 Luciando Santos, 18 Molotsi Bouwer, 19 Liam O’Connell, 20 Warren Randall, 21 Mondli Nkosi, 22 Grant Rattray.