Tragedy at the Tony Stoops Rugby Festival 2022 as coach passes away

One of the sad events during the school holidays was the passing away of Gerrit Bal, the coach of Vredenburg. Bal collapsed during his team’s day one match at the Tony Stoops Rugby Festival (TSRF). He was taken to hospital by the medical personnel, where he succumbed about 40-minutes later.  All but the De Kuilen vs Knysna game had finished when the incident occurred. Vredenburg won their match 30-29.

As expected, match-day two was an emotional one. Vredenburg played on at the festival in their coach’s honour.

When the last TSRF was played, the Vredenburg won the Best Team floating trophy. The organisers decided to rename the trophy in his honour.

For 2022, the Best Team Trophy went to Otto du Plessis, who have 11 Grade 11’s in their team.  The Best player was Paarl Gym Eagles no 8 Dian Greyling.

The TSRF is a community driven initiative. Most of the schools involved would not have the opportunity to enjoy festival rugby had it not been for this three match-day event.

“The thrill in a kid’s eyes when he gets a medal or cup is indescribable.  We are indeed the truest festival out there.  Here’s one classic : the DF Malan B Man of the Match came up to receive his medal.  I asked him what the score was.  His reply?  Ag, ek weet nie, Oom, ons het sommer gekom om te jol!” – Tony Stoops



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