Saturday 24 February 2018

'Mother always told me that people said if my father hadn’t gotten sick, he would have played for Ireland'

Ruaidhri O'Connor in Port Elizabeth

WHEN Port Elizabeth native Sarah Edgecombe learnt that Leinster were visiting her home town, the memories came flooding back.

Her father, Kilkenny native Revd Canon Arthur Stanley Troughton, represented for the province in 1919 and always spoke fondly of his playing days with Dublin University RFC (Trinity) and Leinster.

His career was cut short when he contracted tuberculosis while still a student at Trinity and he was advised to move to warmer weather in Switzerland. From there, he travelled to Zimbabwe – then known as Rhodesia -  where he was ordained in the Anglican Church in 1929 and married Australian Margeret Long 10 years later.

Five years later, he and his family moved to Port Elizabeth on South Africa’s Eastern Cape.

Through all of that, he kept hold of his caps for Leinster, Trinity and Mountjoy School (which became part of Mount Temple in 1972) which remained framed in Sarah’s home until this weekend.

After hearing that Leinster were coming to town for Saturday's Guinness PRO14 meeting with local side Southern Kings, she decided to donate her father's caps to Leinster Rugby, while she asked that his medals from Trinity for his achievements in mathematics and philosophy be returned to the university.

She wears the Leinster Branch medal her father won while playing for Trinity in 1921 on a chain around her neck to this day.

“Mother always told me that people who saw my father play said if he hadn’t gotten sick, he would have played for Ireland,” Sarah, who has visited Ireland twice, told the Irish Independent at the home she shares with her husband David in a retirement village in Port Elizabeth.

“He always loved watching rugby, he was really very good at any ball game he tried his hand at.”

Revd Troughton passed away on Christmas Eve aged 76, 1976 but Sarah (75) and David (79) hope that by donating his caps and medals his legacy will live on.

“We don’t know how long we’ll be around, we’d rather they went back to Ireland rather people just taking them away,” David said.

Although they were unable to attend the game in the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium hey watched Leinster's win over the local side on a big screen in the communal area of their retirement village and the caps were gratefully received by Leinster Rugby's Operations Manager Guy Easterby after the match.

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