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SA Rugby bids farewell to 'amazing' Springbok flyhalf

NEWS: Former Springbok flyhalf Piet Visagie, called an “amazing” No.10 by South Africa Rugby Union president Mark Alexander, has died at the age of 79, the national body announced on Friday.

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Visagie played in 25 tests for the Springboks between 1967-1971 and scored 130 points, which included six tries, 20 conversions, 19 penalty goals and five drop goals.

Visagie, who hailed from the Ammosal Rugby Club and played all of his provincial rugby for Griqualand West, also played in 44 tour matches for South Africa, scoring 240 points (eight tries, 36 conversions, 40 penalty goals and eight drop goals).

He played against France, whom he debuted against in 1967, the British & Irish Lions, Australia, Scotland, England and New Zealand, with his last test match against Australia in 1971.

Visagie was involved in a golden age for Springbok rugby, with series victories against France, Australia, New Zealand and the British & Irish Lions to his credit.

“Piet played in a tumultuous time for South Africa, with a number of tours, like the one to the UK in 1969/70 and to Australia in 1971 affected by the anti-apartheid protests, but that did not stop his amazing performances for the Springboks,” Alexander said.

“He was one of the best in an era which delivered legendary players such as HO de Villiers, Mannetjies Roux, Joggie Jansen, Dawie de Villiers, Frik du Preez, Jan Ellis and Piet Greyling to name a few.

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“Many people will remember his brilliant performances against New Zealand in 1970, when a quick drop goal sealed a 17-6 win at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria and in the final test at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, a try after a brilliant break by Visagie was the final nail in the coffin for the All Blacks.”

In 1968, Visagie was one key role players in the Springbok series win of 3-0 against the British & Irish Lions and the following season he amassed a record 41 points in the series against the Wallabies on home soil.

Visagie was also instrumental in Griquas’ famous Currie Cup triumph in 1970, when they toppled Northern Transvaal in the final in Kimberley, winning 11-9.

Visagie’s career ended prematurely in 1972 when, at the age of 28, he broke his leg in a club game and did not play again after that. His younger brother, Gawie, played for the Springboks in 1981.

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Visagie leaves behind his wife Carol, three children and five grandchildren.

“Our condolences go out to his wife, Carol, their three children, Jacques-Pieter, Caron and Peta-Maria, grand-children, family, loved ones and friends. May you find solace in the wonderful memories of Piet during this time of bereavement,” added Alexander.

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