The UCT v NMMU Varsity Cup fixture, as was the case last year, will once again honour the late Monte Taljaard – the talented UCT flanker who was killed in a car accident in 2008. However, for head coach John Dobson and his young charges, this is no different to any other week at the Ikey Tigers.
Taljaard, a Grey PE old boy, tragically passed away in September 2008 and his memory still lives on at the club – in a big way.
He was an incredibly popular player at the University of Cape Town, having captained his club’s Under-21 team with distinction in 2007 (with Dobson as coach), before stepping up to the Varsity Cup in 2008 – where he even captained the Capetonians in a match against NMMU.
The talented young man was set to play a huge role in the 2009 FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International and Dobson told varsitycup.co.za: “Monte was a complete freak!
“He was a leader like I have never come across, a giant amongst men and he was in so many ways our (UCT’s) future as a player and a leader.
“It is impossible to not still be devastated by the loss of such an outstanding young man. But as the quote from Chariots of Fire goes ‘Out of tragic necessity his dreams have become ours’, and that is what drives us on in many ways. We owe it to Monts.”
Monday’s match will be the second Monte Taljaard Trophy fixture between UCT and NMMU and the first-ever Monte Taljaard Bursary will also be awarded to a deserving UCT (and rugby-playing) student next week. (Click here for more info on the bursary.)
“We are exceptionally grateful to ‘Oom’ Kolie Brandt and NMMU – and, of course Duitser Bosman from the Varsity Cup – for allowing our fixture to be played for the Monte Taljaard Trophy,” added Dobson.
“It means a lot to us and is fitting given Monte was a PE boy through and through, loaned so tragically and rewardingly to Cape Town.”
Despite the loss of Monte, the club and Dobson are still very close to his family and the Ikeys mentor concluded: “His dad, Sydney, hands out the jerseys before this game and that provides us the time for some most sombre reflection and the game gives us the occasion to honour Monte which is far more important than any result.”
Monday’s match kicks-off at 6.30pm at the Xerox NMMU Stadium.
Monte Taljaard tributes:
“Monts was a true legend – as a person and a rugby player. We all loved him dearly at UCT.”
– Robbie Fleck, Stormers backline coach
“It’s a big honour for us to be involved in this match and it’s also a great way to honour a young man like Monte.”
– Kolie Brandt, NMMU coach
“Hopefully this game, the Monte Taljaard Trophy, will ensure that those who did not know him will also realise what a special guy he was.”
– John Dobson, UCT head coach
Previous UCT v NMMU Varsity Cup results:
2008: UCT 36 NMMU 7 (George)
2009: NMMU 17 UCT 36 (Port Elizabeth)
If you would like to find out more about the Monte Taljaard Bursary, click below: