Following engagements with the Chester Williams Foundation and family, the rugby teams of the University of the Western Cape and the University of Cape Town have resolved to play their Varsity Cup derbies in honour and memory of the late Chester Williams.
Their resolution was ratified by the Varsity Cup Board, and the all-important FNB UWC-FNB UCT Ikeys clash on Monday has been named the Chester Williams Memorial Trophy.
“The decision for this collaboration is informed by the fact that Chester Williams was always enthusiastic and looking forward to playing against the UCT Ikeys, whether in the Western Province league or in the Varsity Cup, because he always believed that UCT is the only club that would give UWC an honest measure of progress,” reads a joint statement between the two teams, submitted to the Varsity Cup Board. “Furthermore, our players’ familiarity also provides a perfect platform to create good competition while also honouring Chester Williams’ memory.”
Williams, a South African rugby legend who made history as part of the 1995 Springboks team that won a newly-democratic South Africa the Rugby World Cup, was the head coach of the UWC rugby team when he suddenly passed away in late 2019. Since his appointment in late 2015, he was pivotal in helping the University team grow and attain its goal of playing in the Varsity Cup – South Africa’s premier university rugby competition.
But his legacy lives on, both in UWC’s continued achievements in the Varsity Cup, and in the work of the Chester Williams Foundation, launched to support projects for sports development, education, leadership development for the youth, community and social upliftment and medical assistance for low-income families.
The Chester Williams Memorial Trophy will see the two universities come together each year to clash in Williams’ honour. According to the statement, the two universities have had meetings where all the logistics around the match were discussed and agreed upon. It was also resolved that, should one of the teams no longer feature in the Varsity Cup, then they will use their Western Province Super League match as the Memorial match until such time that both teams can play against each other again in the Varsity Cup. UWC will provide a floating trophy.
UWC Sport Director, Mandla Gagayi, said UWC will always be grateful for the role that Williams played in getting the university rugby teams to the Varsity Cup - and the larger role he played in inspiring young South Africans from all walks of life to dream big.
“That is why we believe that having a match in his honour is a fitting tribute to his work. His memory will always be with us in our journey towards making UWC Sport the best in South Africa.”
The Chester Williams Memorial Trophy will take place on Monday, 17 May 2021. Kick-off is at 17h00 and the game will be televised live on Supersport rugby channel 211.