One of the most notable Springboks of colour in history, Errol Tobias paved the way to an inclusive game for all with his skill. Learn more with Rugby365
Errol Tobias Biography
A beloved rugby legend that played for much more than himself or the Springboks during his time wearing the green and gold, Errol Tobias paved the way for rugby players of all creeds to enjoy the game.
The Springbok veteran was born in Caledon on 18 March 1950 and attended his local school in his hometown.
He enjoyed the game locally but did not find opportunity to venture forth with his passion due to Apartheid policies and ideologies. He managed to secure a spot for a multi-racial South African side playing against the American Cougars. Errol Tobias scored two tries and assisted in two more, creating the first waves that would carry his name to the peak of Table Mountain.
The years before that game, the famous flyhalf played for Caledonians RFC, a local rugby club. He would go on to play for Boland and the South African Rugby Football Federation (SARFF).
An experience he recalls fondly was playing against the English for the Proteas. The Proteas were associated with the SARFF and thus racially segregated at the time.
The inventive flyhalf remembers losing to England 6 - 11, while the Springboks lost 9 - 15. Despite the loss, the margins inspired Errol Tobias and his teammates to improve their game. His presence and hard work paid off, eventually seeing him into the green and gold jersey.
He was included for the test matches against Ireland in 1981 and in front of 37,000 spectators he carved a path and set up a try for Rob Louw to score a try. The Springboks would go on to win the game 23 - 15.
During his stint playing for the Springboks he would bag 22 points.
Errol Tobias was also a part of the controversial 1981 tour of New Zealand. He apparently prepared by muddying his garden to match the expected water-soaked fields in New Zealand.
A more successful tour was when he played for the South African Barbarians that lost to the British & Irish Lions. Despite the score not going his way, much less riots and abuse were directed around his presence in the team.
The Springbok flyhalf made a bold move to remain steadfast in his rugby career and move forward despite the climate of the time. Errol Tobias’s efforts on and off the pitch made it easier for those after him, and his legacy will always be remembered with reverence.