Danie Gerber

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Biography

Danie Gerber was an Apartheid-era rugby player with a nimble sidestep and tons of acceleration.

The retired centre could weave in and out of space with ball in hand to out-maneuver, outplay, and simply out-class opposition.

It all started for the former Springbok at schooling level when the speedster filled in for the second team flyhalf in a practice match against the first team. Each kickoff he caught the ball and would weave through the opposition then score.

After he bagged five tries the school coach halted play and told him to play on the first team.

Danie Gerber made his way through the ranks at school level, playing in the Craven Week tournament once he reached 16.

When he turned 18 he was captaining his school side and also moved to centre as his primary position.

He made 115 appearances for the Eastern Province in his domestic career, 40 for the Western Province, and 24 for Free State.

The illustrious centre was elated when he got the call to travel to South America for his first international test match in Springbok colours. The Springbok side played two matches and Danie Gerber scored a try in each fixture.

During this time period South Africa was not included for many test matches. This resulted in the legend playing only 24 tests over a 12 year period. He won 16 of those games, and scored a total of 19 tries.

The Springbok considers his try a year later in Cape Town against the Irish to be one of his greatest performances. The evasive centre got the ball at the opposition 10 meter line and darted in and out of space, causing two Irish defenders to tackle each other while he laughed over the try line.

There has been much speculation about how his skill would translate in today’s rugby climate.

The retired Springbok credits playing soccer at a young age for growing his ambidextrous leg movements and steps. A skill that would no doubt have been tricky to deal with when facing him.

Danie Gerber’s class was recognized in retrospect as one of the greatest South African rugby players to grace the pitch.