Fish (far left) after the 2009 Intervarsity draw at Newlands.
It’s the end of an era as Vakai ‘Fish’ Hove hangs up his blue and white jersey after nine passionate years at UCT rugby. Our collection of stories about the Ikeys star who leaves such a huge legacy is growing – here the second part.
To read part 1 and the initial article – click here
Adrian Hewlett – former 1st team hooker and manager of the UCT legends team:
Who does “The Beast” think he is anyway? While Tendai was in prep school, the stadiums of Groote Schuur, Danie Craven and Bellville Tech were already reverberating so the sound of “Fiiiiiish” on a trademark rampage. I am surprised the call had not been trademarked before this new guy copied it.
Fish the crowd pleaser aside, I will be the first and certainly the only honest member of a UCT front row to admit to the mild jealously of packing down next to a prop with an 8 pack. This is certainly not the physique of any self respecting member of the front row grunt. We look forward to seeing you back in CT with a decent paunch soon Fish, then you can join the legends team properly! All the best Fishy.
Derek van den Berg – former UCT Eagles forward coach:
Vakai Hove has always been one of my favourite Ikey personalities.He was in the 2nd XV of 2002 – one of the best teams ever – and should probably have been playing at a higher level. Fish would regularly announce his retirement in despair. Thankfully, his love for UCT always brought him back.
His contribution to the Varsity spirit on and off the field has been immense.My favourite story of Fish is at an SASSU tournament in Pretoria, standing in the queue for breakfast, a player from Pukke turned to Fish and asked him if he was a quota player. Fish gave him a pitying look and told him “at UCT we don’t do that shiiit.”
My personal thanks and good wishes for the future. I will miss you!
John le Roux – Manager of many a UCT side and current senior advisor to the first team:
I was involved with the UCT 2nd team (known as the Eagles) in 2002. We had a great season and Fish was a major contributing factor.Our props were Fish and Steven Knoop and with Derek van den Berg our forward coach, our pack spent many hours practicing their scrummaging. When we went live against the lst team for scrumming practice, we would give them a very hard time.
It wasn’t always easy to get Fish onto the field or in time for the game so one of us would pick him up at his digs to make sure that he got there on time. In the bus on the way to one of the games that season, Fish announced that he would be retiring at the end of that particular game and he wished us well for the rest of the next season. It came as no great surprise to us that come the next Tuesday, Fish was back at practice! Such was his love and passion for both rugby and UCT.
I also think that Fish, because of his following, outstanding rugby play and personality, was a major player in transformation at UCT RFC. In other words, making any player of colour feel important and wanted at UCT. Fish, we will miss you greatly.
Kenrick Brown – former UCT 1st team hooker:
I think Fish would agree that his fate with Alan Solomons in the second and unbeaten half of the 2005 season was sealed when he was found smoking a cigarette on the substitutes bench after being subbed. That and the fact that he consistently arrived an hour late for practices.
But of course that has nothing to do with why Fish is revered and loved by everyone. What an amazing talent, incredibly person, and loyal player – oh and his massive calf muscles have to be mentioned. FEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSHHHHHHHHHH
Craig Kleu – UCT 1st team flank adds this beaut of a memory:
Fish’s reputation for punctuality, or rather lack thereof, is well documented. In fact, the creative excuses he often produces are rather legendary. One example of Fish’s rather profound ability in this regard takes us back a couple years to a UCT SASSU tour to Stellenbosch.
Varsity had performed admirably against a very talented Pukke team in their second game of the tournament. We’d narrowly lost to the bigger, more favored opponents but had certainly been in with a shout until late in the second half thanks to some inspiring play in the loose by the hero of the story, Vaki ‘Fish’ Hove.
In those days of amateur SASSU competition (at least the Ikeys treated them as such) it was common place for a UCT side to celebrate anything from resounding victory to narrow defeat with the traditional ‘fines meeting’! This ‘Famous loss’ was no exception.
After some serious negotiation Snoopy Knoop (fines master at the time) successfully managed to convince Dobo (probably half a dozen of the one and six of the other) that these ‘get togethers’ were tantamount to Ikey tradition and that one was indeed called for on this important day.Dobo agreed under the condition that the squad practice early the following morning to ‘flush out’ the ills of the previous evening. Any way, it was agreed that a fines meeting would take place so long as all tour members were present at practice and on time the next morning!
Snoopy presided over the meeting at the residence we were staying at (I forget which one?), the idea being that afterwards we could all stumble up the stairs and into bed. This however, was not compulsory and those who wanted to experience the Stellies night life were certainly welcome to!
Needless to say not a single ikey attempted to climb the stairs prematurely!! If my memory serves (fairly hazy), Fish and Dobo led the charge carrying the residence vending machine across their backs for sustenance along the way.
The following morning there was a mad rush to meet the conditions of Dobo’s agreement (although I think neither of his then assistants, Bob Shaw nor Graeme Wepener were anywhere to be seen). The squad, reluctantly found its way to the practice pitch only to realize that three of their own were missing. Now, seriously concerned for our well being (it was a known fact that failing to uphold Dobo’s side of the deal would result in seriously kaak extra conditioning) the squad frantically tried to figure out where their team mates had last been seen!
Dobo arrived only to inform us that Dave Ricketts had been excused to try and bail Richard Ince out of the local jail for walking down the main road directing traffic stark naked singing ‘Once an Ikey prostitute’!
That however still left Fish unaccounted for?
Anyway, practice started with us well aware we’d be forced to suffer as result of our team mates indiscretion.
Two thirds of the way through the practice Fish came jogging onto the practice field! Dobo stopped the drill we were busy with and proceeded to give our Hero a serious dressing down!
His excuse,……. (this is the stuff legends are made of)………..
‘He’d been accosted by one of the local Stellenbosch maisies and had woken to find his hand cuffed to the headboard of the bed with the mysterious girl nowhere to be found! ‘