More than a rugby player

Kyle Barnes

The club rugby fraternity is still in shock following the death of Goodwood RFC captain and winger Kyle Barnes, last week.

Barnes, 31, from Ravensmead, suffered head and neck injuries following a tackle during his side’s 35-21 defeat in their Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) Super League C match, last weekend.

He was then placed on life support and underwent surgery at Somerset West Mediclinic.

However, he did not recover and died on Thursday, which was his twins Caylib and Caylin’s eighth birthday.

Barnes’s former coach at Goodwood RFC, Marius Erwee, described him as an excellent player and a great human being to be around.

“I was privileged to coach Kyle for only one season. He was not just a good player but a great person in general.

“He always had a smile and wanted to learn,” Erwee told Vukani.

“He kept the team spirit high by his attitude, on and off the field. He will be missed.”

In a statement released last week, WPRFU president Thelo Wakefield said: “When tragedy strikes it is important that we, as a rugby community, stand together, and we would like to offer our full support to the Barnes family at this difficult time.

“It was heartening to see the players and administrators make the effort to be there for the family in what is an extremely difficult time for everyone involved,” he said.

A moment of silence was observed ahead of the match between WP and Griquas, at the weekend. People also took to Facebook to express their condolences. Chanelle Stripp posted: “You are truly a legend and left a legacy. You will be missed by so many. You made a huge difference in so many lives.”

Esdalle Baxter Litz added: “Everyone has their own words about what a special person you are yet it all comes back to the same thing – a brave-hearted guy who loved his family and friends and all of his brothers he made on and off the pitch. We will definitely miss the sound of your voice”

A memorial service will be held tomorrow, Thursday September 27, at Goodwood Rugby Club, starting at 7pm.