Balie Swart

Balie Swart best known for most bizarre red card in rugby. Learn about his life and career with Rugby365, your resident rugby gurus. Click here for more.

Balie Swart Biography

Balie Swart was born in Malmesbury on 18 May 1964. He was schooled at Paarl Gimnasium and represented and captained the Western Province and SA Schools teams at the 1983 Craven Week tournament. 

After school he enrolled at the University of Stellenbosch before making his provincial debut for Western Province in 1987. Balie Swart represented the blue and white hoops in the Currie Cup until 1991, bagging 58 caps in the process before he made the move to Johannesburg where he joined up with Transvaal in 1992. 

His tenure with the Lions saw him join the elitist 100 caps group with a massive 108 appearances between 1992 and 1999. 

Balie Swart made his debut for the Springboks 31 July 1993 in Sydney against Australia, a match the Boks won 19-12. 

During his three year tenure with the Springboks from 1993 to 1996, Balie Swart had 16 appearances, never scoring. His most memorable moment was winning the Rugby World Cup in 1995 where he played in four games, including as tighthead prop in the 15–12 final win against the All Blacks. Springbok coach Kitch Christie picked Balie Swart ahead of other formidable tightheads like Tommie Laubscher and Keith Andrews.

The witty tighthead's most famous quote came after the semi-final win against France in Durban. South Africa had one final scrum to secure the ball to win the semi-final. It was five metres from the Boks tryline and Kobus Wiese told Balie Swart that the scrum could go sideways but it was never going to go backwards. It proved to be the most important scrum of Swart’s career. The scrum only ever went forward.

Balie Swart made just two more appearances for the Springboks following the final, the end arriving for his 16-cap career in August 1996 (in Bloemfontein versus Australia). 

He might be remembered for one of the most bizarre send-offs, getting his marching orders from Andre Watson after showing the referee the red card. 

After his retirement Balie Swart became a coach, for the first two years under his former coach Laurie Mains at the Lions, then moving to New Zealand for four years before joining SA Rugby and later Sanzaar the following 12 years in referee coaching. After that he became a blueberry farmer in the Worcester district.