Barry Heatlie Heatlie, to give his full name, was born on the farm Glen Heatlie near Worcester on the 25th April, 1872.
One of nine brothers he was sent to the Diocesan College (Bishops) at the age of sixteen and for the first time handled a rugby ball.
Two years later, in 1890, he played for Western Province against Griquas, on Rondebosch Common and the year after that represented South Africa against the . touring 1891 British Isles. He played his last game of rugby in the Argentina at the age of 43 when he broke some ribs and decided to call it a day. He retained his passionate interest in the game, however, until his death on the 19th of August, 1951 after being struck by a car.
During his career Heatlie played for Western Province 34 times, 28 of which were consecutive wins. He also captained Western Province from 1894 until 1904 excepting for 1898. Bishops, Gardens, Old Diocesans, Villagers and South Africa all fell under this remarkable man's captaincy.
Heatlie was a big man, standing 6 ft 2 in, broad shouldered and weighing almost invariably around 210 lbs. In the first test against the 1903 British Isles in South Africa he kicked two remarkable conversions. Chosen for the second test, he elected to return home for his son's birth.
Oubaas Markotter, not a man given to praise, had this to say: "Heatlie - I played with and against him - is the greatest all-round forward South Africa has produced. I am inclined to put his name down as the best captain ever to lead a Springbok side."
After captaining South Africa for the first time in 1896, Heatlie again captained the side against the 1903 British Isles and would certainly have been on the 1906/07 tour to Britain but for being involved in an embezzlement matter and having to leave Cape Town in a hurry. Legend has it that, to escape the law, he was rowed out to a ship in Table Bay, some say by members of Villagers, others maintain it was Malay supporters of the club.
Heatlie was to remain in the Argentina for twenty years and after having repaid all, or virtually all the monies he had misappropriated, he returned to South Africa in 1925 - a sad episode in the life of an obviously great man.