By Millin Thomas

Born and raised in Darling, Eugene Sias can be described as a very humble and goal-orientated person. Reflecting on the early days of Darling RFC, Sias played for the first of the then Young Standards RFC in Darling. But it was the role him and the other founding members of Darling Rugby Football Club (RFC) played in 1997 that arguably places Sias in an elite category of a being a Confident Fan.

“Darling Rugby Club once consisted of Young Standards and Young Stars,” Sias said. “I played for Young Standards, which at that time was known among us as “Darling Rugby Club”, in all age groups and was even the captain of the Under 17 team. After which I played for the senior team until the end of 1996, when we established the current Darling RFC.

Sias embodies the term legend through and through and he lives for the club by going the extra mile and will always set the standard and example by placing emphasis on the good that is done by Darling RFC.

The former flyhalf refers to the foundation set by the founding fathers and mothers of Darling RFC as a new hope and joy for the town of Darling. He started coaching in 1997 and was named head coach the following year. It is around this time that Sias, in hindsight, believes to the beginning of the ‘success story’ of Darling RFC, a claim that he rightfully can stake given his nearly three decades involvement at the club.

“I have been involved at the club from the start and experienced things first-hand in various roles either as head or assistant coach for the past 24 years. I coached many players who later became quite famous including Neil Papier, Earl Lewis, Fabian Brandt, Jongi Nokwe, and Renfred Dazel.”

Eugene Sias. Photo credit: Lizette Smit

Not only has Sias been instrumental in unearthing and mentoring talent in the Swartland region, but he has also been a scout for high schools across the country, most notably Hoërskool Garsfontein. The 2007 season was one that Sias remembers fondly, during this year Darling experienced its best sevens achievements with players like SA Sevens speedster Leslie Jackson, Elroy van Zyl, Lewis, and Papier all forming part of a legendary team that saw off the likes of Maties RFC, Tygerberg RFC, Kuils River RFC, and Strand RC. The latter having talented players like Earl Rose in their ranks.

Affectionately known as coach, Sias brings a wealth of rugby knowledge to the table and has earned the respect of the people in the Darling. Sias was Darling’s forward coach during last year’s (Sanlam Boland) Top 12 competition and has since taken up a coaching position at Western Province Super League club, Goodwood Rugby Club.

“It is a new challenge and learning exercise for me. I only hope that I can pick up a thing or two which I can use to benefit everyone at Darling. I am by no means thinking that I know everything, and this is the legacy that I wish to leave behind that I am and have always been a scholar of this beautiful game. Something that I am eternally grateful to everyone at Darling.”

Coach believes that Darling has got the right tools to work their magic and not only make it all the way to final on 2 December but also lift the trophy at the end of the final 80 minutes.

“They have all the necessary ammunition and tools to be crowned champions in Wellington [on 2 December].”

Feature image credit: Charlton Photography