THE FORCE IS WITH KEVIN FOOTE
Kevin Foote is an Ikey legend. He captained the Ikeys, captained the SA sevens team and was UCT RFC head coach in 2011, guiding the Ikeys to their first Varsity Cup title. Kevin is currently coaching in Australia as the Western Force backline coach. There are a number of former Ikeys at the Western Force, David Wessels, the interim head coach and players Marcel Brache, Chris Heiberg and Frans Van Wyk.
UCTRFC has an enviable reputation for embodying a culture of ‘putting back into the club’ from ex-players, loyal supporters and rugby folk who love the game for what it means to them. That means a game played at pace, with flair, a spirit of adventure, and an insouciance which flies in the face of the dyed in the wool South African rugby culture of win at all costs. It used to be called ‘Varsity Spirit.’ Now it is termed ‘Ikey Tiger Gees.’
The Ikey Tiger team at Western Force have injected their skill and experience into a Super Rugby franchise located in a beautiful area, which has in its home base, Perth, the most isolated city of consequence in the world. Perth is closer to Singapore than it is to Sydney. The Western Force are fortunate to have Footey, Dave, Marcelle and other expatriate Saffers willing to wage rugby war against the big name franchises. Footey is a special man, and his contribution to UCT rugby is not only recognized, but highly valued. We wish him all success in the future.
Kevin, Marcel and Chris share their thoughts and experiences at the Western Force.
“Moving to Perth and coaching Super rugby has been a gigantic leap for me personally. I am not sure I truly understood the challenges of what lay ahead when we left our beautiful Cape Town. Thankfully I have had my amazing family with me. I really have needed them so desperately at times as I learn and grow as a coach.
Coaching and living in Western Australia is very unique. It is a truly beautiful place to live and work – stunning beaches; climate and warm water. There are lots of great people living here and we have been lucky enough to meet some really special friends in our time here. Australian; New Zealanders and South African.
Rugby in Perth has some very real challenges for example the Travel – derby games across a country as large as Australia, means 4-5 hour flights and different time zones. Depth – Western Australia is an AFL state and therefor the quality and quantity of players in club rugby is not always as strong as other states. Having said that there is a real appetite for a successful franchise, and the rugby people of Perth are extremely loyal and passionate about the Force.
I have learnt so much over the 3 years I have spent here, and will never take for granted how lucky I am to be involved in Rugby especially at the elite level. Although we have not got the results over the last few years I believe the Force is definitely moving in a dynamic direction. The ARU have now got behind the Force, and this will help with some of the challenges mentioned above.
On a personal note I always hold my experiences and memories of UCTRFC extremely close to my heart. I know that my time at the Ikeys has set me up to be extremely determined and pretty resilient – never compromising on being a good person and fighting for being better both on and off the field. I often think about my journey at the club from 2005 and every year has a special chapter. I think about the people all the time – Players; Coaches and Elders who guided the club to where it is today.
I look back at the 2011 season and think about travelling to Pretoria to play in the final of VC; or the run of games we strung together to win the league. If I feel down I think about people like John Le Roux, Neil McDonald, Phil Kilroe, Alan Solomons, Dave Mallett; John Dobson; Paul Day, Prof Noakes and Dugald McDonald… all the wisdom and love they showed me through all my different journeys as a coach. It is because of these people that I live my dream every day, and for that I am extremely grateful.
“Being a part of a professional club like the Western Force has opened my eyes to what is really required from a player in order to succeed. I’ve become more professional in my approach to my rugby, understanding the importance of the one-percenters; my preparation and my performance. The team, coaches and the support staff are a close-nit group – reminds me of my earlier days with Ikeys.
Although Cape Town will always be home to me, Perth will now hold a special place in my heart because of the friendships that I have formed here and the comradery that I feel for my team mates. I am thankful to the Western Force for this opportunity. I have also had the chance to travel across Australia to take in it’s natural beauty, local tourist attractions, and experience so many different cultures, cuisines and coffee blends…”
Since arriving in Australia on October of 2013, my time in Perth has been nothing short of amazing. The people and players here at the Force, as well as the supporters and local community have been so gracious and welcoming to not only me, but all of the ‘Saffas’ making their way across the Indian Ocean.
I feel as though my rugby knowledge and playing as improved through my time, and my development as a person has been immense. I’m very grateful.