Thu 15 Aug 2019 | 06:45

Brits among the aged

Brits among the aged
Thu 15 Aug 2019 | 06:45
Brits among the aged
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: On Saturday, 17 August 2019, Schalk Brits will lead the Springboks out onto  Loftus Versfeld for a Test match against Argentina.

In doing so, he will become the oldest man make his first Springbok captain’s appearance  in a Test – and he is close to other records.

He will become the oldest debut captain, passing Boy Morkel of 1921.

William Herman Morkel, called Boy, was one of the Somerset West Morkels, of whom many played rugby for South Africa in the first half of the 20th century. He was working on his farm, when, as had happened to Cincinnatus of old, emissaries arrived to ask the great forward to tour New Zealand. He agreed to help his nation in its hour of need.

Theo Pienaar, a school principal from Caledon, was appointed captain of the touring team but did not captain them in the Tests in New Zealand. Morkel, who had played for South Africa in Tests in 1910 and 1912-13, captained South Africa for the first time on 13 August 1921 when he was 36 years 7 months and 11 days old. Brits will be doing in like manner 98 years almost to the day after Morkel led his team out onto Carisbrook in Dunedin.

On Saturday, Brits will be 38 years two months and 24 days old. He will not be South Africa’s oldest captain or South Africa’s oldest player in a Test. The oldest was Victor Matfield who was 38 years 5 months and 19 days old when he captained the Springboks on 30 Oct 2015, As will be with Brits, that Matfield Test was against Argentina, but it was in Buenos Aires.

Matfield is also the oldest player to have played for South Africa but Brits will slot into second place, passing Johan Ackermann, who was 37 years 1 month and 3 days old when he played against the Wallabies on 7 July 2007.

Brits made his debut off the bench against Italy at Newlands in 2008, when Matfield was the captain. Brits was 27 and not the oldest debutant. That was Deon Lötter who was 35 years 7 months and 23 days old when he played against France in 1993.

The Springbok who loved longest was George Daneel, the only Springbok to have turned 100. Born in Calvinia he turned 100 on 29 August 2004, and died two months later in Franschhoek.

The oldest living Springbok, who took over the mantel from Cecil Moss, is Des van Jaarsveldt who was born Bulawayo on 31 March 1929. He is the only Rhodesian to have captained the Springboks. That was against Scotland in 1960 when he was 31.

Brits will be the 63rd Springbok captain, the sixth (so far) in the last three years as Tests become more numerous.

* Continue reading below video …

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The List of Springbok Captains, 1891-2019

These are those who played in Test matches acknowledged as such by the International Rugby Board (now World Rugby). That excludes the Tests played by the SA Coloured Rugby Board’s team, the SA Bantu (later African) Rugby Board’s teams, the SA Rugby Football Federation’s teams and the teams of pre-unity SARU.

1 Herbert Castens
2 Bob Snedden
3 Alf Richards
4 Ferdie Aston
5 Fairy Heatlie
6 Alex Frew
7 Jackie Powell
8 Paddy Carolin
9 Paul Roos
10 Dougie Morkel
11 Billy Millar
12 Theo Pienaar
13 Uncle Dobbin
14 Boy Morkel
15 PK Albertyn
16 Phil Mostert
17 Bennie Osler
18 Phil Nel
19 Danie Craven
20 Felix du Plessis
21 Basil Kenyon
22 Hennie Muller
23 Stephen Fry
24 Basie Vivier
25 Salty du Rand
26 Johan Claassen
27 Des van Jaarsveldt
28 Roy Dryburgh
29 Avril Malan
30 Abie Malan
31 Nelie Smith
32 Dawie de Villiers
33 Tommy Bedford
34 Hannes Marais
35 Piet Greyling
36 Morné du Plessis
37 Theuns Stofberg
38 Wynand Claassen
39 Divan Serfontein
40 Naas Botha
41 Jannie Breedt
42 Francois Pienaar
43 Tiaan Strauss
44 Adriaan Richter
45 Gary Teichmann
46 Corné Krige
47 Rassie Erasmus
48 Joost van der Westhuizen
49 André Vos
50 Bob Skinstad
51 John Smit
52 Victor Matfield
53 Johann Muller
54 Jean de Villiers
55 Schalk Burger
56 Fourie du Preez
57 Adriaan Strauss
58 Warren Whiteley
59 Eben Etzebeth]
60 Pieter-Steph du Toit
61 Siya Kolisi
62 Duane Vermeulen

*Patrick Lambie, like Theo Pienaar, captained the Springboks but not in a Test. He captained them against the Barbarians. Pienaar is listed amongst the captains as he was captain on a tour and against New South Wales who were, in effect, Australia at the time. Lambie is not listed amongst Springbok captains.

Of those captains, 32 were older than 30 when they captained the Springboks in a test.

The youngest Springbok captain? Avril Malan – against the All Blacks in 1960 when he was 23 years 4 months and 4 days old.

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