picture: Lonwabo Marele
The UCT sports grounds, for instance, was the place to be this weekend as rugby fanatics gathered in their numbers, to catch a glimpse of what might come their way when the season kicks off, in a few months time.
They were there for this year’s Dr Cecil Moss memorial match. In fact, two matches were played on the day – the university’s juniors locked horns in a curtain-raising match before the first team took on the Cecil Moss Invitational side, which was drawn from club rugby sides.
UCT rugby junior project manager Bronwyn White said the late Moss was not just a dedicated and respected anaesthetist.
“He assisted in the first ever heart transplant, and was part of the team that operated on Nelson Mandela during the former president’s political imprisonment. But he also had a rich career as a passionate and much-loved rugby player and coach for UCT, Western Province and the Springboks,” she said.
A Newlands resident for many years, Moss died in 2017, aged 92. The day-long event started off with a lunch, where many of Moss’s contemporaries, students, wife Gill and son Jamie were present. The side’s outreach arm, Vusa Academy, then organised mentoring sessions for pupils, before the matches started.
As soon as the formalities were done and dusted, it was business on the field as the university’s 2nd XV took on their under-20 side.
The match was a tightly contested one, especially in the first half where both sides had a serious go at each other. But, in the end, the under-20s emerged victorious, recording a 19-5 victory.
It was then the “big boys’” turn to take to the field for the main match of the day, where UCT’s first team and the Doc Moss Invitational side locked horns. And, as it was the case in the curtain raiser, the match was a highly-contested one.
The players produced some exciting rugby, which kept the decent crowd, which gathered on the field, on the edge of their seats. UCT ended up winning by 33-23.
The matches may have been played in a friendly spirit but there is no doubt they provided players with some good pre-season preparation as we slowly approach the start of the new season.