Beloved rugby star dies

22 September 2008

Monte Taljaard

Student and member of the UCT Rugby Club Monte Taljaard died in a car accident on Sunday morning, 14 September. The following is an excerpt from a message from John Dobson, coach of the UCT Ikeys First XV, to the club.

The absolutely devastating, tragic, tragic passing of Monte Taljaard robs the Taljaard family, UCT and the world of a simply outstanding young man. Monte was a quality individual, a young man who stood out as a leader, a player and a gentleman. As Phil Kilroe, our vice-president, says, "It is hard to believe that this could happen to one of the finest human beings Varsity has produced in many a year, in the prime of his life. We will always remember him as a very special person and a leader of men."

Monte had the world at his feet. He had made staggering progress in his career path and his rugby was poised to explode. He looked set to be our next Club Captain, something we were all looking forward to as, being Monte, he would have reset the bar for this job. He was set to play a vital leadership role in next year's Varsity Cup. I had been working closely with him on his preparation in the past few weeks, and he knew he would have been in our starting line-up come February 2. I assure you he would have set the tournament alight. He was the sort of person you could, and we were going to, build a team around. And Monte being Monte, he knew that. And was going to make a success of it.

Monte always led, and mostly by example. He was confident, ambitious, yet thoroughly and always respectful, totally wholehearted with deep, unwavering principles and strong faith. He loved UCT and we loved him.

It gives me, as tears hit the keyboard, great comfort, and should give all of us comfort, that he told Pete Haw on the evening of the accident that he was very happy and that his life was going in the perfect direction. To his parents and his girlfriend, it absolutely beggars belief and we can but imagine. But please take solace that "Monts" was someone who lit up all our lives and will never be forgotten. He was our captain. On behalf of UCT RFC, please accept our sincere, heartfelt and absolutely agonising condolences.

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