CORNE Uys had triple cause for celebration last weekend, the South African helping Newcastle Falcons to victory on his 30th birthday before hooking up with a long-lost school-friend.
Travelling more than 6,000 miles from Cape Town to Tyneside, the former Free State Cheetahs star arrived in his new home without a familiar face to greet him.
That soon changed, however, as a chance meeting saw the midfield signing re-united with his childhood chum.
Uy said: “His name is Jaco Jordaan and he is a fantastic bloke.
“It has been 11 years since I have seen him, so it is just incredible to find him here in Newcastle of all places.
“It has been a great surprise, and I had no idea whatsoever he was over here.
“There were less than 400 pupils in Bredasdorp High School in the Western Cape, so to find one of my good mates in Newcastle after so many years, during my first week in the UK is just unbelievable.”
Elaborating on the remarkable coincidence, he added: “The Falcons’ chief executive David Bell told me he had met him totally by chance in town on the Friday and it just goes to show how small the world really is.
“David invited him to Sunday’s game against Wasps, and before the match I had the opportunity to briefly meet him and shake hands before having a beer together afterwards.”
The 15-10 home victory also coincided with Uys’ 30th birthday, with the Falcons debutant stating: “I could not have asked for anything better. It was great.
“I thought it was a real scrap. The rain changed a lot of what we had planned to do, but the two half-backs coped well in controlling the game.
“I did not see much ball in the first half, which was frustrating, and we were not playing the most attractive rugby.
“Sometimes that is just what the conditions force you to do and we won the game, so we cannot complain too much.”
With the win marking the end of a four-game losing run this season, Uys added: “The dressing room was great afterwards.
“It was relief combined with real happiness, and the guys enjoyed it.
“They do deserve it because they dug deep during the week and they truly earned it.
“Feelings like that are what you play rugby for, and what we work towards during the week.”
Facing a daunting trip to reigning champions Saracens this Sunday, he said: “We are going there as under-dogs which is fair when you look at the table, but I think that could play into our hands.
“First of all it will be great to see so many of my mates from back home when we get down there who are playing for Saracens, and from what I have seen they have been playing some great rugby.
“We will just go down there, give it 100% and see what happens.”
Prior to the Vicarage Road clash Uys will be among the TV viewers in the team hotel keeping a keen eye on his countrymen as South Africa take on Australia in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.
Northumberland’s Dave Pearson is performing assistant referee duties for the Wellington clash, with Uys stating: “I have been following the Springboks closely throughout the tournament and I think they have done well so far.
“I really believe they play the kind of game you need to win a World Cup.
“Francois Steyn is a big loss in the centres, but Jean de Villiers has massive quality as he comes in again.
“They have Australia in the quarter-finals then probably New Zealand in the semi-finals if they make it through – and on the day anything is possible.”