As the final curtain dropped on the 2017 for Go Nutz College Rovers it was perhaps a bridge to far after putting a great quarter final performance together to beat Tygerberg 27-23 in Cape Town, which was followed up with a brave 31-28 win over Quins Bobbies RFC in Pretoria..
For Rovers it was one of their greatest character building journeys in decades beginning after being beaten 15-14 in the closing minutes of their final round match against Direct Axis False Bay on their home grounds. Having already secured a place in the top eight of the National Club Championship they still had the arduous task of remaining in the championship for the ultimate prize the Gold Cup with their remaining games all played away from home, and that they bravely did.
It was False Bay that claimed the Gold Cup in the end, beating the KZNRU champions 30-18 on their home grounds in Constantia in front of the biggest crowd seen at a club or schools game in the area in a long while. If anything there can be no doubt that this game deserved to be televised as it produced some truly magic moments with Rovers clearly running out of gas after their hard journey to what turned out to be a memorable final for The Bay after Rovers suffered the same fate that the newly crowned 2017 champions had to endure last year after they finished runners up losing to Rustenburg Impala, the first club to lift the Gold Cup.
Needless to say there can be no doubt that Rovers path to the final was well deserved after their brave away from home performances in the build up to the winner takes all final, and what a final it turned out to be.
Leading 21-10 at the break False Bay somehow had the measure of Rovers eventually out scoring the runners up four tries to two in what turned out to be a great advert for the club game. Duane Heath from SA Rugby deserves huge credit for all his hard work he has put into this years competition, which was clearly the most successful and most competitive of them all since the inception of the Community Cup now the Gold Cup.
False Bay’s tries came from wing Danie Roux who crossed for two, flank Taps Tsmondo and their other wing Marcello Sampson with fullback Adriaan Osman kicking two conversions and a penalty to go with another penalty from Meryck Ward.
As much as Rovers wanted to bid their skipper Chris Jordaan farewell with a championship trophy it wasn’t to be. And so the final curtain call was made on a wonderful career of a loyal servant to his club and the club game that goes back to 2005, as he led his troops into battle for the last time. At least the skipper managed to score a try in his last appearance in his club strip.
Their other try went to Grant Rattray with Gav Scott kicking two penalties and a conversion so ending what was a memorable club championship. It would be unfair to single out any players in the Rovers squad and simply say to them all you, the coaches and the management have done the province and the KZNRU proud and they salute you.
Until next season this is not good bye but simply au revoir
THE PIC SEES ROVERS LOCK MATT TWEDDLE WINNING GOOD LINEOUT BALL WITH PROP JARRETT CROUCH IN ATTENDANCE
Leading 31-0 at the break it looked like it was going to be one way traffic after the KZNRU champions played some of their best rugby this season with skipper Chris Jordaan outstanding and controlling the game to great effect. However the hosts came back with vengeance in the second half after Rovers had made a few changes, which didn’t help their cause. That combined with the altitude saw Rovers lose structure and almost the game, which they managed to hold on to and squeak home to a nerve wracking 31-28 victory.
Rovers once again showed great determination and character towards the end and managed to hold on to book their place in the final and a flight to Cape Town to meet Direct Axis False Bay in Constantia.
False Bay’s journey to the final was perhaps a lot less stressful with all their games played on home turf. However they do deserve accolades for beating last years champions Newrak Rustenberg Impala, who had beaten them in last years final in their semifinal 34-21. What made their victory that much more special was the fact that they finished the game with 13 men on the park after the referee had issued a red card followed by a yellow right at the end.
Two time champions Rovers went into their sixth final so they will knew what to expect. They first won the National Club Championship in 2010 and followed up with another golden year in 2012. The bay on the other hand had only played in their first final last year and were looking for ultimate glory to become the first club in the Western Cape to lift the Golden Cup. The December issue will tell it all,
And so it all went down to the final with the two top club sides in South Africa preparing to do battle for that ultimate prize and how ironic it was that the Currie Cup Final was to end with an all out battle between Western Province and The Sharks and the Gold Cup Final between the Western Province Champion Club and the Champion club of the KZNRU. It was just such a pity that the games were played at different venues.