Former Springbok Ian Kirkpatrick dies

Last updated 02:06 20/11/2012

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Ian Kirkpatrick, a former Springbok player and coach, has died, the South African Rugby Union said.

He was 82. Kirkpatrick played 13 tests and 43 games in all for the Springboks from 1953-61. He debuted at flyhalf against Australia at Newlands before moving to centre for the majority of his appearances in the green and gold. He went on tours to New Zealand (1956) and to Britain and France (1960-61).

Known as ''Kirkie,'' he also stepped in as coach for South Africa's 1974 tour of France after the Boks had fallen to a famous series loss at home to Willie John McBride's British Lions.

His greatest influence was as a coach, leading unfancied Griqualand West to the 1970 Currie Cup title over Northern Transvaal, which was the two-time defending champion.

He was appointed SA Rugby's director of coaching in 1978 and also became a longtime coach at Stellenbosch University near Cape Town, an institution famous for producing Springboks.

SARU said Kirkpatrick still coached the university's under-19 team at the time of his death in his sleep on Sunday at his nearby home.

Kirkpatrick, whose full name was Alexander Ian Kirkpatrick, also made an important contribution to promoting non-racial teams, SARU said, when South African rugby was still in the grip of apartheid.

''South African rugby has lost one of its greatest influences,'' SARU chief executive Jurie Roux said Monday.

''He was an incredible coach and friend to some of South Africa's greatest players but, what set him apart, was the fact that he gave every player the same attention.'' SARU president Oregan Hoskins offered condolences to Kirkpatrick's family and his ''many, many friends.''

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- AP

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