St George's Park History
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Rugby St George's Park - Formation of the Spring Rose Rugby Club
Formation of the Spring Rose Rugby Club
Botha Harmans

A wish to spend their leisure hours profitably led two Port Elizabeth Africans, Charles ("Zet") Fushane and the late William Thube, to found the Spring Rose Rugby Club in 1907.

Click image to enlarge
Charles Futshane
As the bulk of the team were domestic workers, they earned for themselves the derisive designation of "Kitchen Boys."

Most of the club practices were conducted in the moonlight on their ground situated at the open space below the Provincial Hospital, Port Elizabeth.

In 1907, the year in which the "Kitchen Boys" were promoted to the First League, the club's name was changed from Spring Grove to Spring Rose.

In 1914, under the able leadership of the late Samuel Ngene, Spring Rose qualified for the final of the John Wynne Grand Challenge Cup.

The match was staged at the Westbourne Oval, and the Roses met Wanderers, a strong Grahamstown side.

Charles Futshane remembers this hard-fought game as if it took place yesterday.

Playing on the wing, he scored the only try, giving Roses the cup.

Pleased with the game, Mr Brownlee, then proprietor of the Railway Hotel, presented the Roses with an expensive trophy - the Brownlee Trophy.

Spring Rose sportingly handed it over to the Port Elizabeth Bantu Rugby Board, and this trophy is now the principal cup for the Second League competition.

On retiring from rugby in 1937, Charlie Futshane took up first aid and in 1939 was awarded the St John's Ambulance medal.

Today he uses that knowledge to assist injured players, and he is a familiar and much respected figure in Eastern Province Bantu Rugby.

During the recent national tournament at New Brighton, Mr AZ Lamani paid Charlie a well-deserved tribute when he said that no Bantu tournament would be complete without his invaluable services.

Evening Post
August 4, 1951.

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