Gysie Pienaar
Full names: Zacharias Matheus Johannes
Date of birth: 21 Dec 1954
Place of birth: Bloemfontein
School: Dr Viljoen
Springbok no: 506
Debut test province: Orange Free State
Physical: 1.78m, 80kg
Current age: 69

Test summary: Tests: 13 Tries: 2
First Test: 3 May 1980 Age:25 Reserve against South America at Kingspark, Durban
Last Test: 12 Sep 1981 Age:26 Full Back against New Zealand at Eden Park, Auckland
Test history:
03 May 198025ReserveSouth AmericaWin: 18-9 Kingspark, DurbanOFS
31 May 198025Full BackBritainWin: 26-22 Newlands, Cape TownOFS
14 Jun 198025Full BackBritainWin: 26-191 tryFree State Stadium, BloemfonteinOFS
28 Jun 198025Full BackBritainWin: 12-10 Boet Erasmus, Port ElizabethOFS
12 Jul 198025Full BackBritainLose: 13-172 penaltiesLoftus Versfeld, PretoriaOFS
18 Oct 198025Full BackSouth AmericaWin: 22-13 Wanderers Club, MontevideoOFS
25 Oct 198025Full BackSouth AmericaWin: 30-16 Prince of Wales Country Club, SantiagoOFS
08 Nov 198025Full BackFranceWin: 37-151 tryLoftus Versfeld, PretoriaOFS
30 May 198126Full BackIrelandWin: 23-15 Newlands, Cape TownOFS
06 Jun 198126Full BackIrelandWin: 12-10 Kingspark, DurbanOFS
15 Aug 198126Full BackNew ZealandLose: 9-14 Lancaster Park (Jade stadium), ChristchurchOFS
29 Aug 198126Full BackNew ZealandWin: 24-12 Athletic Park, WellingtonOFS
12 Sep 198126Full BackNew ZealandLose: 22-25 Eden Park, AucklandOFS

Gysie Pienaar : Doc Craven

In spite of his exceptional achievements Gysie was something of a disappointment to me.

Whether at fullback or flyhalf, he was equally brilliant, with fullback nevertheless his best position.

He was the best. He certainly had the most potential, but I think he suffered because in the Free State, they brought him into the University fold. Whether he belonged there or not, I don't know, but I sensed he was not too happy there, associating with professors, doctors and other academics. I don't believe he quite fitted into the mould.

You find the same thing with the coloured players, for them to perform most effectively you have to play two of them in the same team; one player on his own doesn't work. I don't think that Gysie was given that cohesion between the workplace and the rugby field.

It was a great pity that he did not always produce his best, for when he did, there was no-one to touch him.

I don't believe he ever realised his full potential - all that he was capable of. I found the same thing on tours as well when a certain player would not be playing to his full potential. If you approached him the reason would often become clear; his wife hadn't written to him, or there was some other domestic problem.

Gysie, as brilliant as he was, had the potential to have been even better. He will nevertheless always be remembered for the way he ran the 1980 British Lions into the ground, and for the magnificent try he scored against them in the second test at Bloemfontein before his home crowd.