Seven years ago Stokkies Truter (then Sports Organizer at HS President, now at HS Tygerberg) approached me about our combining forces to resurrect a festival (the Pat Ambrose Festival) that he had run and I had sponsored at HS Bosmansdam a few years earlier.
In 2008 the first Tony Stoops Rugby Festival, comprising just eight teams, took place at HS President. It was such fun we decided to expand our net. 2009 saw us with ten teams, 2010 brought us 24, which became 34 in 2011 and, believe it or not, 42 in 2012 !
The festival is aimed primarily at sides below the top tier in the Western Province plus anybody else, which seems to be mostly Bolanders, who wants to pitch in. The 2012 crop included a team from KZN, six from the Eastern Cape, six from the South Western Districts and even Noord-Kaap, who graciously agreed to play in the flagship game on the Saturday.
We were able to accommodate so many teams because (a) HS President could offer us four fields (b) Ben Theron, the refereeing equivalent of powdered milk, took personal charge of all the match officials and (c) all the WP and Boland sides simply drove in and out each day. This meant that just some thirteen teams had to find their own accommodation and food – our not providing these enables us to keep the budget manageable.
The 2013 Festival, the first at Tygerberg, involved 34 schools and was an outstanding success, thanks in no small part to the generosity of our sponsors and the accommodating nature of our host school.
C2M came on board as our major sponsors in 2014, a festival which included large doses of Noord-Kaap, Paarl Boys' High, Wynberg and Rondebosch among a field of 44 teams !
TSRF 2015 News : Thursday 2, Saturday 4 and Monday 6 April 2015
The dedicated Festival facebook page, set by up by C2M lives on. Below is the final list of entries.
WP: Tygerberg, Stellenberg, De Kuilen, Milnerton, Bellville South, Parow, Table View, Jan van Riebeeck, Bosmansdam and Jan Kriel;
Boland: Swartland, Klein Nederburg, New Orleans, Porterville, Worcester Gym, Weston, Piketberg (just for days one and two), Hopefield, Swellendam, Groendal and Barrydale;
EP: Nico Malan, Otto du Plessis and Westering;
Border: Port Rex THS;
KZN: Weston Agric, Sarel Cilliers;
Northern Cape: Noord-Kaap (just for days one and three);
North West : Stella
SWD: Outeniqua (just for day one), Oudtshoorn, PW Botha, Langenhoven High, Kairos and York.
In addition to C2M, Spur Steak Ranches (thanks, Khaki), golf-shirt sponsors Profin (Jacques Theron), Brito's (Ploeg), local favourites the Green Grocer, United Mobile and MultiPost (Jacques Briel), Peter Buttner Sports, Footprint Sports Travel (Alan the Indestructible), Greens (Plattekloof)(Wilmo and Mike), the Health and Fitness Professionals Association (long-time ally Jo Greenwood), Sublimation House, Stellenbosch Rugby Academy (yo, Alie !), Reeds Delta (N1 City), Target Recruiting (Francois Schoeman), Enhanced Sport (the mighty Gibbo), Travel and Sport (welcome back, Steve !, 3@1 Plattekloof (thanks, Tinus !) and the Sharks Academy (Abie Zondagh) have all signed up to sponsor the festival.
It seems that several of our sponsors may be banding together to introduce a swish hospitality section for the bigwigs. More later as this news develops !