Ockie Oosthuizen dies
Ockie Oosthuizen, a fine South African, died after a battle against colon cancer. The strong former Springbok prop won a battle against a heart problem but the cancer was too much.
Oosthuizen made a success of life – a highly successful rugby player, a highly successful businessman and a friendly, jovial and highly popular man.
Born in Johannesburg, Oosthuizen was educated at Heidelberg Volkskool (waar ou Heidelberg hang aan die Suikerbosrand). Then he did his compulsory military training at Voortrekkerhoogte, before going on to Potchefstroom University. There he started his provincial career, playing for Western Transvaal.. His next move was to Northern Transvaal. There in 1981, he was in the Northern Transvaal team that beat Orange Free State 23-6 in the final. That was also the year when he became a Springbok.
Ireland toured South Africa, and the first of two Tests was at Newlands. Oosthuizen was a replacement prop and when Martiens le Roux was injured, on he went for his debut, a match which the Springboks won 23-15. He was in the starting XV for the second Test in Durban and was then chosen for the dramatic demo tour of New Zealand and the USA that year, playing in the second and third Tests against the all Blacks and in that funny little Test against the USA on a sloping polo field in Glenville, New York with more state troopers to watch the match than “normal” spectators.
Oosthuizen then moved to Transvaal in 1982, and after a row with the union about improving players’ “benefits” he retired from rugby in 1985. In all Oosthuizen played matches for the Springboks, including two tests.
After his retirement from rugby Oosthuizen had a short dabble with an attempt to establish rugby league in South Africa but made a success of business ventures, including an involvement in tourism and was the owner of the Molenvliet Family Vineyards near Helshoogte, outside of Stellenbosch.
Ockert Wessel Oosthuizen was born in Johannesburg on 1 April 1955. He died in the Chris Barnard Memorial Hospital in Cape Town on the morning of 4 December 2019, survived by his wife Susan, a son and two daughters.
*NB Orange Free State is now Free State, Northern Transvaal the Blue Bulls and Transvaal the Golden Lions.