It was evident at the memorial service of Jeffrey 'Bolle' Stevens at UWC on 14 May that the late rugby coach was well-known, well-loved, well-respected and very passionate about and committed to UWC rugby.
UWC director of rugby and sport development, Peter de Villiers, described Stevens as “the engine of UWC rugby”. Head coach of rugby, Oliver Jansen, called him “the Public Protector of UWC rugby because he would not allow you to say anything bad about the UWC team.” Jansen also called him “the heart and soul of the club for the past 16 years”.
Some shed tears, others told jokes, while others laughed as speeches were delivered in the packed UWC Library Auditorium. Attendees got a glimpse of the role played and legacy left by Stevens, who passed away suddenly on 9 May.
Stevens was the head coach of the University’s rugby side that took part in the last two seasons of the Varsity Sports Rugby Sevens tournament, and was in charge of the UWC second rugby team. He was also the head coach of the 2013 USSA Ladies Rugby Sevens team. Possessing a Level Two International Rugby Board qualification, Stevens started as the head coach of the UWC rugby team in 2000, and had been on the coaching panel up until the end of his life.
In her welcome address, Ilhaam Groenewald, director of UWC Sport Administration, said Stevens was born as a masterpiece who probably had a difficult choice to make between the Fifteens and Sevens rugby teams. “He would have gone through everything to make both work.”
Jansen, who was inseparable from Stevens, remembered him as “a very tough guy - as a player and as a coach.” His favourite phrase, Jansen said, was “Do not focus on the goal but focus on the steps that will lead you to the goal”. Stevens’s dream was for the UWC rugby team to get promoted to the Super League A. In his own words: “As a team, we want to live for and chase this dream – for Bolle.”
Stevens will be buried on Friday, 17 May 2014 in Ravensmead.