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Wed Apr 16 21:00:50 SAST 2014

Former Springbok prop dies

Sapa | 16 June, 2012 09:500 Comments
South Africa fans wave flags during the Second Test match between South Africa and the British and Irish Lions at Loftus Versfeld on June 27, 2009 in Pretoria
Image by: Stu Forster / Getty Images

One of the legends of South African rugby, Johannes Lodewikus “Mof” Myburgh died Friday at the age of 75 after a long illness.

The former Springbok prop was born on August 24, 1936.

A detective in the police force, Myburgh was a long-time stalwart for Police club, Pretoria and the Blue Bulls.   The powerfully built prop and was selected for the SA tour of the British Isles and France in 1960-61 where he played 20 matches, without being selected for the five Test matches.   Fanie Kuhn and Piet du Toit were the props used as the Springboks recorded a Grand Slam against the four home unions but drawing 0-0 against France.

Myburgh missed out on selection against Ireland and Australia in 1961 but he made his Test debut at Ellis Park against the touring Lions in 1962.

The match was drawn 3-3 and Myburgh was dropped for the next Test.   He had to wait two years for his next Tests in 1964 against Wales and France.

Both were lost and, with props like Tiny Neethling and Hannes Marais preferred by the selectors, he had another wait of four years before he played in three Tests against the 1968 Lions.   Myburgh then toured France where he played two Tests, both won by South Africa.

From then until 1970 he was a regular in the front row. He went on the 1969-70 demo-ridden tour of the British Isles when he played against England, Ireland and Wales and his Test career ended in 1970 in fine style when the All Blacks were beaten 3-1 at home, with Myburgh recalled for the last two Tests.

Altogether he played 57 matches in the Springbok jersey, including 18 Tests, of which 12 were won, two lost and four drawn.

Beeld newspaper reported that Myburgh died in the Eugene Marais Hospital on Friday.

He had heart trouble but was also diagnosed with liver cancer a few days ago.

“Old Mof was a solid guy, not only as player but also as a person,” said former Springbok captain Dawie de Villiers said.

“Mof was....a unique, distinctive person. A quiet guy, someone with a good sense of humour and a joker.”  Myburgh’s daughter, Karen Ellis told the newspaper she would remember her father for his intellect, his dry sense of humour, his love for opera and his empathy for people.

Myburgh made his debut for the Springboks against the British and Irish Lions in Johannesburg in 1962.

Myburgh is survived by his wife, Aneline, another daughter, Linda Enslin, and three grandchildren.

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