The Ards rugby fraternity was plunged into mourning late on Thursday night, when news broke of the untimely passing of our good friend and head coach Cois Beukes.
Cois had been diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer in December 2009 and underwent major surgery to have a huge tumour removed from his stomach.
Within days of the operation and in typical Cois fashion, he was back at the club taking charge on training nights and match days, as he recovered from his ordeal.
A couple of months later, everyone was stunned to learn that a second tumour was now taking hold and that too was removed after major surgery.
Once again Cois’s unstinting dedication to the club was witnessed by all when he reappeared to take charge only days after being released from hospital. He was not one for self pity and despite being in considerable pain and discomfort, never once complained about his personal situation and focused in on his love of rugby for the benefit of everyone at the club
The season was now drawing to an end but Cois was already preparing for the new season with a recruiting drive and plans for pre-season training already well underway.
In the closed season, upwards of sixty players were turning out at his pre-season training sessions; such was the magnetism of this big man from South Africa.
Everyone was further devastated when he was diagnosed with a third tumour during the summer and despite undergoing extensive chemotherapy and another major operation, lost his brave and courageous battle for life late in the evening on Thursday 28th October 2010.
Cois has made a huge impact on the lives of so many people since his arrival at Ards in 2007. He coached the U18s and set about introducing new structures to help the playing side of the club change direction with their mindset and start achieving more of what they were capable of on the field of play.
When he took over as head coach in 2009, new equipment was introduced in the form of a ‘low slung’ scrummage machine, triangles for ‘driving’ up the park, an ‘A’ frame for pull-ups, parallel bars for dips, loose weights and a variety of other apparatus all designed to help get the players into better physical shape for the rigors of rugby and help cut down on the injury list.
His legendary ‘match-day mentality’ was now well established where nothing but only the game ahead was on the agenda. His presence commanded respect and when he talked, you listened.
Despite Cois’s fearsome reputation as a no nonsense man manager, he also had a much softer side as a loving father to his little daughter Naomi and husband to his remarkable wife Rachel, both of whom will miss him greatly in the coming weeks and months ahead. However with a strong loving family to support them, this will undoubtedly help to ease their grief.
Cois’s short but dynamic time at Ards will be remembered for many years to come, such is the legacy he’s left behind and on behalf of Ards RFC President Mr Reggie Haddock, we extend our sincere condolences to Rachel, Naomi and the entire family circle at this time.
As a mark of respect at the passing of Cois, all last weeks fixtures were postponed to be rescheduled at a later date.
Fixtures – Saturday 6th November
Ards 1st XV – No Game
Ards 2nd XV v Ballyshannon – Conference League 3B (Home)
Ards 3rd XV v Coleraine – League (Away)
Ards 4th XV v Carrickfergus – League (Away)
Ards U19s v Ballynahinch – League (Home)
Ards U17s v Larne – League (Home) Kick-off 11am
Fixture Sunday 7th November
Ards U13s v Strangford College – Friendly (Home) Kick-off 2pm
All Saturday fixtures have a 2.30pm Kick-off unless otherwise stated.
Please refer to the club website at HYPERLINK “http://www.ards-rfc.com” www.ards-rfc.com for any late changes.
Please Note: – Cois’s funeral service is due to held at Hamilton Road Baptist Church Bangor on Tuesday 2nd November 2010 at 1pm. A shorter service will then follow at Roselawn Crematorium at 3pm before retiring to the La Mon Hotel for light refreshments thereafter.