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South Africa mourns Kirkpatrick

The South African Rugby Union has announced that former Springbok player and coach Ian Kirkpatrick has died. He was 82.

Kirkpatrick played 13 Tests and 43 games in all for the Springboks from 1953-61. He debuted at fly-half against Australia before moving to centre.

Known as Kirkie, he was appointed coach for South Africa’s 1974 tour of France after the Boks had fallen to a famous series defeat at home to Willie John McBride’s British Lions.

His greatest influence was as a coach. He was appointed SA Rugby’s director of coaching in 1978 and became a longtime coach at Stellenbosch University near Cape Town, an institution fam-ous for producing Springboks.

SARU said Kirkpatrick still coached the university’s under-19 team at the time of his death at his nearby home on Sunday.

“South African rugby has lost one of its greatest influences,” said SARU chief executive Jurie Roux. “He was an incredible coach and friend to some of South Africa’s greatest players, but what set him apart was the fact that he gave every player the same attention.”

SARU president Oregan Hoskins offered condolences to Kirkpatrick’s family and his “many, many friends”.

 

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