(Oom) Tony Stoops

(Oom) Tony Stoops
(Oom) Tony Stoops

 

Considering that he was born and bred in Cape Town, it is hardly surprising that Oom Tony fell in love with rugby in general and the schoolboy game in particular at an early age.

While at university, he organized the internal rugby league for two years, turned out for a local club in the non-racial SEDRU league in 1977and played in the first-ever multiracial match at Rhodes.

After twenty-five years as a teacher (and an at best moderate age-group team coach), he took early retirement and found himself with time on his hands.

It wasn’t long before one of his colleagues, close friend Stokkies Truter, then sports organizer at Bosmansdam, suggested that Oom Tony might sponsor a festival at the school in honour of Pat Ambrose, a recently-deceased governing body member. 

That festival ran for two years before Truter moved to President where he and Oom Tony soon renewed contact and laid the humble foundations for the externally financed Tony Stoops Rugby Festival, which first took place in 2008.  The tenth TSRF will take place at Brackenfell HS at the beginning of April 2017.

In the course of these years, suggestions were made – particularly by current Labori principal Johan Batt – that Oom Tony start a schools rugby website with a local flavour.

This concept became a reality when Stoopstats (www.stoopstats.co.za), a non-profit site, was launched in June 2012, since which time it has kept an ever-increasing audience abreast of news in the Western Province, Boland and South Western Districts, its main attraction being the carefully maintained statistics.

Over the last two years, the TSRF has been able to send touring teams selected at those years’ weeks on overseas tours to Ireland and Portugal, an unforgettable experience for the youngsters.

But then that’s what TSRF and Stoopstats is all about: doing it for the kids.