Rustenburg Impala on Saturday claimed their second Gold Cup title in three years in sweltering heat at the Impala Rugby Club in Rustenburg as they outplayed DirectAxis False Bay 48-24 in front of a 5,000-strong passionate home crowd.
The victory completed a dream season for Rustenburg Impala, who played in their third successive final, as they remained unbeaten and scored four tries or more in each of their matches.
They won the title in 2014, but stumbled against Durbanville-Bellville in a home final last season which saw them go down 31-30.
While DirectAxis False Bay will be disappointed by their defeat, they will draw immense confidence from the season, as their participation in the Gold Cup marked their maiden national tournament after claiming their first WP Grand Challenge title in 44 years.
The teams took a few minutes to find their rhythm after kick-off as the temperature lingered close to 40 degrees Celsius in Rustenburg, but once they hit their straps it was a matter of time before Rustenburg Impala ran riot on attack.
DirectAxis False Bay showed their intent early on by running hard at the hosts, and their dominance on attack earned them three opportunities to slot over penalty goals in first 11 minutes. However all three attempts were unsuccessful.
Their determined efforts to open up their account, however, paid off in the 17th minute thanks to a well-worked try by left wing Mustaqeem Jappie who kicked the ball through from a turnover and gathered it to score, which handed the Capetonians a 7-0 lead.
Rustenburg Impala, however, hit back with a try two minutes later as winger Dumisani Matyeshana crossed the tryline after receiving the ball out wide, but the unsuccessful conversion left them trailing 7-5.
His team-mate, No 8 Leon du Plessis, added the team’s second try 10 minutes later as he crashed through a bunch of defenders to dot down the ball, but False Bay reduced the deficit to two points with their first penalty goal by fullback Adriaan Osman.
Impala had the final say in the half as Matyeshana rounded off another fantastic team try, which pushed them 17-10 ahead. They had an opportunity to score their fourth try on the stroke of halftime, but a knock-on denied them.
The hosts wasted no time adding to their score in the second half as flanker Justin Wheeler crossed the tryline two minutes after play resumed, which flyhalf Cecil Dumond backed up with two tries in three minutes.
The team built on this fine form which saw centre Justin St Jerry and Wheeler added two more tries to take their tally for the match to eight.
In turn DirectAxis False Bay were only able to add two second-half tries compliments of Dylon Frylinck and Ashley Wells.
This secured a well-deserved 48-24 victory for Rustenburg Impala.
In a fitting end to the competition, meanwhile, the manager, coach, forward, back and club player of the year were named before the trophy handover.
Durbanville-Bellville’s Peter Virgin was named the team manager of the year, Alrico Beukes of RSK Evergreens club coach of the year, Tythan Adams of Your Communications College Rovers backline player of the year, Siyaya Brakpan’s Ian Oosthuizen forward of the year, and Leon du Plessis of Rustenburg Impala club player of the year. This is the second year in a row that Du Plessis wins the player of the year award.
All of the winners with the exception of Du Plessis will spend time at a top UK Club as part of an international exchange programme sponsored by the British High Commission. Du Plessis spent six months overseas last year after winning his award.
Gold Cup final result and scorers:
Rustenburg Impala – Tries: Cecil Dumond (2), Dumisani Matyeshana (2), Justin St Jerry, Justin Wheeler (2), Leon du Plessis. Conversions: Cecil Dumond (3). Penalty Goals: David van Biljon.
DirectAxis False Bay – Tries: Ashley Wells, Dylon Frylinck, Mustaqeem Jappie. Conversions: Adriaan Osman (2), Andri Claassen.
Issued by SA Rugby Communications