Springbok Rugby Legend Danie Gerber

Danie Gerber
South African rugby player Danie Gerber during the second test match between France and South Africa at the Parc des Princes in Paris, 24th October 1992. France won by 29 points to 16. (Photo by Howard Boylan/Getty Images)

Danie Gerber is a Springbok rugby legend who is remembered by many fans for his speed, an eye for a gap and the ability to step off either foot.

Last Word on Rugby will embark on a short series of articles highlighting a few players who can claim the title of Springbok rugby legend, written by Ryan Jordan. One of the most nominated players was the Eastern Cape Province’s own Danie Gerber.

Springbok Rugby Legend

For those who may have either missed the memories of, or completely missed out on Gerber’s silky running skills, the compilation below should either remind you or enlighten you as to why Gerber was regarded to be a midfield genius.

Early years and Provincial Rugby

Danie Gerber was born in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. He made his name in the town of Despatch, a short drive out of Port Elizabeth. His name became synonymous  with the Despatch Rugby Club, a club he captained to two national club titles in the 1980’s.

Gerber played 115 games for Eastern Province, 40 for Western Province and 24 for Free State.

Springbok career

Gerber played only 24 Tests for the Springboks, between 1980 and 1992. That was enough for him to be inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame. Danie Gerber, Rugby Hall of fame inductee number 117. In the 24 Tests he played for the Springboks, Gerber scored 19 tries.

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1981 Tour to New Zealand

Gerber’s rugby playing career, along with a number of other Springbok rugby legends, fell into the period that Springbok rugby was isolated from the international game due to South Africa’s policy of racial segregation (apartheid). This isolation was as a direct result of the Gleneagles Agreement. Despite being being isolated from international competition, the Springboks, including Danie Gerber, toured New Zealand in what became a very divisive visit. Society in New Zealand was split down the middle in terms of accepting or rejecting the tour.

Life after rugby

Gerber’s life after rugby did not necessarily include a lot of rugby. He associated his name to a range of gent’s clothing and became an ambassador for heart disease awareness after a health shock of his own. He did offer his services as an assistant coach to the Pumas in South Africa’s Currie Cup for a short time. It was somewhat fitting that Gerber was roped in as an assistant coach to help his beloved Despatch Rugby Club in their successful 2013 Community Cup campaign. This was a like for like replacement for the Club Championships that Gerber won twice himself as a captain.

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