Ex-player Succumbs to Virus
Chris van Rooyen, who played for Transvaal for 10 seasons, died in Milnerton, Cape Town, on 9 June 2020 after contracting COVID-19.
He was 93 years of age.
He may well be the first former first-class rugby to be killed by the pandemic. He and his wife of 64 years, Julia, were living in Panorama Palms, a retirement village in Cape Town’s northern suburbs at the time.
Van Rooyen, who played for the powerful Diggers club who won the Pirates Grand challenge seven time when the played for them, played 33 times for Transvaal (now the Golden Lions) between 1947 and 1956, at a time when Transvaal were particularly strong with backs like Jimmy Kotze, Des Sinclair, Wilf Rosenberg and great forwards like Felix du Plessis, Okey Geffin, Hennie Muller, Gert Dannhauser, Basie van Wyk, Jan Lotz, Hoppy van Jaarsveld and Piet Malan. In 1953 he played on the wing for a Transvaal XV against the touring Wallabies who won just 20-18 at Ellis Park.
After working for the SABC and Standard Bank, he and his wife retired to Panorama Palms in Cape Town. After a spell in hospital for a kidney complaint, Covid-free he came back to Panorama Palms where a few days later he tested positive for the virus and was taken to the Mediclinic in Milnerton where he died in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Chris van Rooyen is survived by Julia, their son Anton and their daughter Sandra and their families.