Instead of waiting for a dreaded phone call to inform him of the funeral arrangements, he decided to gather the troops and surprise his old mate with a reunion that brought tears to the eyes of grown men.
That is the course of action Piet Uys from Johannesburg took when he received an emotional phone call from the wife of his friend and 1965 Paarl Gymnasium 1st XV team mate Neil “Bulletjie” Jordaan.
Bulletjie’s wife had to share the bad news with friends and family. He was diagnosed with advanced Lymphoma(cancer) and that he took the emotional decision not to receive any treatment at such a late and advanced stage of the cancer.
Piet – remembering Bulletjie as an eager and ever passionate rugby player and supporter – decided to call up the entire 1965 1st XV team from Paarl Gymnasium and organized for all of them to travel from all over the country to surprise and support their friend and former Paarl Gym tight head prop.
After careful planning, secrecy and help from the family, all the team members(except for one player) and including the coach made their way to the house of Bulletjie’s son in De Doorns, Western Cape on Saturday 20 November where Bulletjie would arrive shortly to watch the Springboks take on Scotland.
There was no shortage in tears when Bulletjie unknowingly walked around the corner where he received loud cheers from his former team mates, all dressed in Paarl Gym Old Boys jerseys. Shortly after the tears were wiped and Bulletjie got dressed in his own Old Boys jersey, the old stories and jokes started flowing just like it did 45 years ago.
“I’m speechless, it’s really wonderful. I have the utmost respect and will forever be grateful for what they have done for me today” is how Bulletjie described the reunion before the emotions took over and he had to stop the tears from flowing again.
“We really had a great time and it was nice to see some of the guys again after 45 years. If we were just a little bit fitter we would have put on a much better show than the Boks” chirped Piet at the end of the day after they all watched the Bok game together.
We at Rugby15.co.za really took this story to heart and it just goes to show what a powerful role rugby can play. Here – bringing old friends and even a coach together after 45 years – and in the lives of many others.
1965 Paarl Gym coach Bokkie Blaauw went on to become Springbok fitness coach under head coaches John Williams and Ian McIntosh.
Piet Uys was the first player ever to score two tries in the annual interschool clash against Paarl Boys High. That year Paarl Gym won 11-0. It took a further 40 years before the record was equalled. It has never been beaten.
Many of the players went on to play club rugby and Vonnie von Waltsleben also went on to play provincial rugby for Boland.
Attached below is a collection of photos from the memorable day and other relative photos.
[Written by James Loretz for www.rugby15.co.za] [*****@rugby15.co.za]
With thanks to Piet Uys.
The International Rugby Board and several leading national rugby unions have been rocked by a series of major scandals after the infamous WikiLeaks website released thousands of documents that were never meant to be publically viewed.
The fallout from the publication of hundreds of embarrassing emails, letters, notes and minutes belonging to the IRB and governing bodies, such as the Rugby Football Union (RFU), the South African Rugby Union (SARU) and French Rugby Federation (FFR), could lead to years of frosty international rugby diplomacy as nations come to terms with often blunt comments or accusations from rivals and supposed allies.
WikiLeaks have stood by the publication of all the documents claiming that the rugby world and its operations should be 'transparent and open'.
One rugby insider has claimed that some aggrieved unions have already made threats to withdraw from major tournaments such as the Six Nations or even the Rugby World Cup as a result of the WikiLeaks scandals.
Among the most damaging revelations is a top secret dossier from the IRB complaining that the 2011 World Cup should never have been awarded to New Zealand as the country 'wouldn't know a decent bloody draught beer if it came in from the wrong side of a ruck and trampled all over them'.
The statement, written by a senior IRB official, goes on to say that: "I can take the fact New Zealand doesn't really have enough big modern stadiums for a World Cup, I can accept that they may not have the infrastructure relating to transport and accommodation and I can accept the fact the ticket sales aren't going to be as big as in previous tournaments, but I can't accept the fact I won't be able to get a bloody decent draught beer for the four weeks I have to be at the tournament. We (the IRB) messed up big time on this one and I want heads to roll. We need to look at our whole World Cup bidding process and ensure this never happens again."
Another controversial secret missive from the IRB apparently warned various national unions to be on their guard when visiting Ireland over the coming few years. Due to the current dire economic situation in the Republic of Ireland the IRB feared that unnamed Irish rugby persons may choose to ply visiting guests with Guinness and whiskey and then 'indirectly drop hints about possible loans of equipment, kit and labour' to help cushion the financial impact of the economic crisis on Irish rugby.
"It is very possible," said the statement from the IRB, "that loans of tracksuits, shorts and electrical tape (for keeping players' socks up during matches) may not be returned, if at all, for many years. We urge unions and visiting kit/bag men to be vigilant." The IRFU are said to be seriously offended by the allegations.
Among other serious revelations made by WikiLeaks are the following:
* Stade Francais players wrote series of letters 'begging with all their hearts' to be allowed to wear, for just one week, a set of kit that did not make them look like clowns/question their own masculinity.
* RFU officials and the English media met with Vatican officials several times to try and get World Cup hero Jonny Wilkinson made into fully fledged Catholic Saint before the 2011 World Cup. Merchandise sales and profits from associated Saint Jonny relics were to be split 50/50 between London and Rome if the deal was a success.
* A Scottish plan to aim to score at least one try per game for the 2011 Six Nations was widely mocked by several unions in a series of circular emails as 'utterly unrealistic'.
* Cardiff Blues are planning a shock move to the Millennium Stadium in 2012 due to problems coping with capacity at new ground Cardiff City Stadium. Emails from Blues' management have indicated the recent decision to abandon their historic city centre ground (which they rarely ever filled) to play in a soulless Lego-style stadium (which they never ever fill) was 'just not crazy enough'.
* South Africa considered hiring an interpreter to speak 'for, on behalf and instead of' outspoken head coach Peter de Villiers at all matches, press conferences, public appearances and training sessions. One extreme memo indicates a plan by SARU to give de Villiers a significant bonus each year if he never ever spoke at all in public.
* The IRB's referees boss Paddy O'Brien sent a series of emails to friends claiming the constant controversial law changes to rugby union in recent years were the result of a forfeit he had to perform after losing a drunken game of 'rock, paper, scissors' in a pub late one night.
* Welsh Rugby Union officials refused The Victorian Society's request to classify Rodney Parade, home of the Newport Gwent Dragons, as a listed building and turn the ground into a 'living museum'. Apparently the WRU were initially happy to agree to the museum being created but then relented when talks broke down over the use (or lack of) the word 'Gwent' in the potential museum's name. Using 'Gwent' was deemed 'too political'.
* Result of 2011 World Cup final leaked.
The IRB have produced a confidential memo on the WikiLeaks affair, which they expect to be leaked online next week, so that the wider public can read their response.
But as for his post-match comments following the Racing defeat - now something of an internet favourite amongst rugby fans - ERC were unimpressed, saying: "ERC would like to point out that it expects key representatives of clubs participating in its tournaments to engage with the media in a co-operative and respectful manner.
"It is therefore disappointed by Mr Venter's approach throughout the interview.
"ERC has asked Saracens to confirm that Mr Venter will not adopt the same approach, or one in anyway similar, when giving media interviews before or after Friday's European Cup Pool 3 game between Racing Metro 92 and Saracens."
The Golden Lions Rugby Union have already secured the services for next season of, among others, Rory Kockott, Bandise Maku, Michael Rhodes, Lionel Mapoe, Michael Bondesio and Pat Cilliers and are also after the Racing Metro and Springbok fullback-cum-centre, Frans Steyn,
Watson playing his first game since October. 2 Saffers are captaining the sides. Faan played his 100th game (away) last week, so they've given him the honour rhis week. Also Mike Catt will be honored as he was awarded the OBE on New Year's Day.Damn. I almost forgot about this match.
Bath have been really struggling this season.
A good tradition... hence the nickname "The Exiles".As Sailosi Tagicakibau scores a powerful try in the corner for London Irish it is interesting to note that all players with Test caps for their countries boasts a small little flag of the country represented in the middle of their jerseys on the chest.