Category Archives: South Africa

Leon Barnard – the unlucky winger

Around 70 rugby players up to 1965 suffered the unfortunate experience of being picked to play for their country in an international or test match and, for a variety of reasons, were unable to play and were never “capped”.  The … Continue reading

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Muddied Oafs of Rugby

By Sean Fagan One of the most common epithets applied to a Rugby player is that of being a “muddied oaf”. Though usually given in a light-hearted manner, and even worn with pride, it nevertheless reinforces a stereotype portraying Rugby … Continue reading

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The most iconic image in the history of sport?

This photograph of Nelson Mandela awarding the 1995 Rugby World Cup to South African captain Francois Pienaar is one of the most iconic in sport and is significant on a number of levels. The tournament was a grand success and … Continue reading

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Lest We Forget – Tommy Thompson (South Africa) 20/06/1916

Among the five World War One casualties from the ranks of Springbok internationals was Gerald “Tommy” Thompson, universally known as Tommy, a balding terrier of a Western Province forward who won selection for the 1912-13 tour of the United Kingdom … Continue reading

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Lest We Forget – Jackie Morkel (South Africa) 15/05/1916

Jan Willem Hurter Morkel was one of those South African rugby players who in one memorable season established a reputation at international level that has never faded.  Born in Somerset West, a town situated 30 miles from Cape Town in … Continue reading

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RUGBY DYNASTIES – The ‘Bok Family Morkel

Many families have contributed outstandingly to the history and development of international rugby.  If Ireland holds a record for the number of brothers who have played in the emerald green at the highest level, one family stands supreme in its … Continue reading

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INTERVIEW – Frik du Preez

Legendary South African forward Frik Du Preez was an archetypal player. He loved the game beyond all else. Not even the oppressive shadow of Apartheid, which darkened the game during his career, could snuff out the candle he held for … Continue reading

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