Tribute Series to Ikey Legend, Basil Bey.

Part 13: Short Tributes

– H.O. de Villiers

– Nick Fenton-Wells

– Herschelle Gibbs

– Jenny Gillies

H.O. de Villiers

Ikey Old Boy

I am flattered that you thought to include comment from me, pertaining to Basil. I only had the privilege of playing under his captaincy on one occasion, and it just happened to be in the Combined Past And Present UCT XV vs. Maties Past and Present XV match in 1966.

I was in awe of playing under Basil as Captain, and with and against such outstanding opponents and teammates!

The one thing, and probably the only thing, that Basil obviously felt warranted mentioning to me just prior to the game, was something along the lines of “we picked you because we felt that you deserved selection on merit, and that you could add value to our team – so go out there tonight and do just that, but enjoy yourself.”

Strangely enough, those few words (or something similar but to the same effect), gave me total peace of mind, and a huge degree of confidence.

As an opponent, I always knew that with Basil at the opponent’s helm, that team would be more than well prepared.

Nick Fenton-Wells

Ikey Old Boy and Bishops OD

Firstly, and most importantly, I’ve done my utmost to think about words that would do Basil Bey justice. It’s hard to put into words what the man, the legend, actually meant to many of us, and how I saw him was probably very different to how many others saw him.

I was never coached by Basil, a great regret I have, having played at Bishops and Ikeys and knowing the way he coached rugby. I longed for just one day where Basil would be our coach, especially at Bishops. When I first went to Bishops, Basil’s name was a thing of legend amongst the rugby players, including myself. People often spoke of the Basil Bey way, and in all honesty, I was quite intimidated by this man I had never even met. I felt quite nervous meeting him for the first time, I remember it well. I introduced myself to him when he was walking his dog around the grounds at Bishops, he had since retired, but still did some coaching at the school. From then on, the intimidation had worn off and I saw a man who was a true romantic of running rugby.

As I said, I never had the chance of being coached by Basil, but in under 16 it was rumoured that he’d be our head coach. Unfortunately, it was not to be – a disappointment that sits with me still to this day. I had the pleasure of sharing in many conversations with the great man, but in my humblest opinion, I didn’t have the opportunity to get to know him as well as others did – who may be able to give him a better tribute than myself. I know my family were close to the Beys, my grandparents in particular, and I have no doubt that my Gran will be able to give a far better account of what Basil achieved and how loved he was.

Everything Basil meant to me growing up playing rugby is in a vision of how I believe rugby should be played. The continued expression of Bishops and Ikeys running rugby will always have Basil’s name connected to it, and I think the beauty of that outshines anything that I am able to write.


Herschelle Gibbs

Bishops OD

To my teacher, coach and mentor Basil…

Arriving at bishops in my Standard 6 year, I was soon made aware of the man named Basil – teacher and rugby legend. Having gone through the rugby ranks, by the time I reached 16, I pretty much knew that the following year was going to be the start of something special. First team rugby and being coached by none other than Mr Basil Bey himself.

Basil was a man you drew inspiration from, the man who brought out the best in you, and a coach second to none. The manner in which he spoke, gentle toned but with words that Abraham Lincoln would be proud of. The times with basil were priceless, every privileged schoolboy that was coached by him will share my sentiments. He touched the hearts of many a rugby fan, but inspired the players.

Thanks for memories, thanks for laughs, and above all, thanks for giving us the privilege of knowing you Mr Basil Bey, SIR!


Jenny Gillies

Ikey Tiger Supporter

It is so interesting to read the tributes to Basil from men who have ‘gone to war’ with him. Although I saw that side of him, and could understand the emotions that he generated, it was another side of him that drew me to him. It was the thoughtful Bey who could wax philosophical at the drop of a hat; who entertained alternative ideas – like his astrological selection of Rugby Players and belief in re-incarnation; who frequently sent me lovely pictures – just because they were lovely; and who took pleasure in nature, just walking with his dog and kicking the leaves.

He loved his dog, Charley, and enjoyed the idea of the two of them growing old together. Who is consoling the dog!?

I very much admired Basil for his courage, fortitude and ability to make the best of a bad job, whilst still finding joy in small things. It was a privilege to know him as a friend, and even though we miss him, I know we will meet again.

A Tribute Series to Ikey Legend, Basil Bey.

That great rugby man, a massive figure in my life, and in the lives of many of us, Basil Bey, ‘Pops’, as I affectionately called him, or Bey Pasha, passed away a short while ago. Basil had been critically ill with cancer for a long time, and when it spread to his bones, the referee was playing optional time.

Part 2: Media Gallery


Part 3: Short Tributes

Part 11: Short Tributes