Frik du Preez
Full names: Frederick Christoffel Hendrik
Date of birth: 28 Nov 1935
Place of birth: Rustenburg
School: Parys
Springbok no: 375
Debut test province: Northern Transvaal
Physical: 1.88m, 96.2kg
Current age: 82

Test summary: Tests: 38 Tries: 1
First Test: 7 Jan 1961 Age:25 Flank against England at Twickenham, London
Last Test: 7 Aug 1971 Age:35 Lock against Australia at Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Test history:
07 Jan 196125FlankEnglandWin: 5-01 conversionTwickenham, LondonN-Tvl
21 Jan 196125FlankScotlandWin: 12-52 penaltiesMurrayfield, EdinburghN-Tvl
05 Aug 196125LockAustraliaWin: 28-3 Ellispark, JohannesburgN-Tvl
12 Aug 196125LockAustraliaWin: 23-11 Boet Erasmus, Port ElizabethN-Tvl
23 Jun 196226FlankBritainDraw: 3-3 Ellispark, JohannesburgN-Tvl
21 Jul 196226LockBritainWin: 3-0 Kingspark, DurbanN-Tvl
04 Aug 196226LockBritainWin: 8-3 Newlands, Cape TownN-Tvl
25 Aug 196226LockBritainWin: 34-14 Free State Stadium, BloemfonteinN-Tvl
13 Jul 196327LockAustraliaWin: 14-3 Loftus Versfeld, PretoriaN-Tvl
23 May 196428FlankWalesWin: 24-3 Kingspark, DurbanN-Tvl
25 Jul 196428FlankFranceLose: 6-8 P.A.M. Brink Stadium, SpringsN-Tvl
19 Jun 196529FlankAustraliaLose: 11-18 Sydney Cricket Ground, SydneyN-Tvl
26 Jun 196529FlankAustraliaLose: 8-12 Suncorp Stadium (Lang Park), BrisbaneN-Tvl
31 Jul 196529LockNew ZealandLose: 3-6 Athletic Park, WellingtonN-Tvl
21 Aug 196529LockNew ZealandLose: 0-13 Carisbrook, DunedinN-Tvl
04 Sep 196529LockNew ZealandWin: 19-16 AMI Stadium (Lancaster Park), ChristchurchN-Tvl
18 Sep 196529LockNew ZealandLose: 3-20 Eden Park, AucklandN-Tvl
12 Aug 196731LockFranceDraw: 6-6 Newlands, Cape TownN-Tvl
08 Jun 196832LockBritainWin: 25-201 tryLoftus Versfeld, PretoriaN-Tvl
22 Jun 196832LockBritainDraw: 6-6 Boet Erasmus, Port ElizabethN-Tvl
13 Jul 196832LockBritainWin: 11-6 Newlands, Cape TownN-Tvl
27 Jul 196832LockBritainWin: 19-6 Ellispark, JohannesburgN-Tvl
09 Nov 196832LockFranceWin: 12-9 Stade Municipal, BordeauxN-Tvl
16 Nov 196832LockFranceWin: 16-11 Stade Olympique, Colombes, ParisN-Tvl
02 Aug 196933LockAustraliaWin: 30-11 Ellispark, JohannesburgN-Tvl
16 Aug 196933LockAustraliaWin: 16-9 Kingspark, DurbanN-Tvl
06 Dec 196934LockScotlandLose: 3-6 Murrayfield, EdinburghN-Tvl
10 Jan 197034LockIrelandDraw: 8-8 Aviva Stadium (Lansdowne Road), DublinN-Tvl
24 Jan 197034LockWalesDraw: 6-6 Millenium Stadium (Cardiff Arms Park), CardiffN-Tvl
25 Jul 197034LockNew ZealandWin: 17-6 Loftus Versfeld, PretoriaN-Tvl
08 Aug 197034LockNew ZealandLose: 8-9 Newlands, Cape TownN-Tvl
29 Aug 197034LockNew ZealandWin: 14-3 Boet Erasmus, Port ElizabethN-Tvl
12 Sep 197034LockNew ZealandWin: 20-17 Ellispark, JohannesburgN-Tvl
12 Jun 197135LockFranceWin: 22-9 Free State Stadium, BloemfonteinN-Tvl
19 Jun 197135LockFranceDraw: 8-8 Kingspark, DurbanN-Tvl
17 Jul 197135LockAustraliaWin: 19-11 Sydney Cricket Ground, SydneyN-Tvl
31 Jul 197135LockAustraliaWin: 14-6 Brisbane Exhibition Ground, BrisbaneN-Tvl
07 Aug 197135LockAustraliaWin: 18-6 Sydney Cricket Ground, SydneyN-Tvl

Frik du Preez : Brad Morgan

Frik du Preez was named South Africa’s rugby player of the twentieth century by the country’s passionate fans of the game. Given that he retired from rugby in 1971, it was a significant expression of the esteem he continues to be held in. In many ways the vote extended beyond Du Preez’s performances on the field, also taking into account his charisma and influence on those around him.

At a time when South African rugby was riven by provincial rivalry, the Northern Transvaal star was popular from all the way from Pretoria to Cape Town – home of the Blue Bulls’ traditional rivals, Western Province – and at rugby grounds all around the world.

Doctor Danie Craven, one of the greatest players in Springbok history and for many years the man in charge of South African rugby, paid this tribute to Du Preez:

“South African rugby is what it is, namely an inspiration for everyone in our country that is interested in the game, and a source of wonder for those people beyond our borders. One of the most important factors responsible for this is the fact that throughout the history of Springbok rugby there have been great players and great personalities. We are grateful for such people, thankful that they, like guides, have given us direction along our rugby road.

“Amongst these greats is Frik du Preez. As long as rugby is played in our country, people who know Frik or knew him, or people who heard of him or read about him, will have a connection with him, and that will enrich our rugby just as Frik did on the playing fields.”

Du Preez had excellent all-round skills, in fact remarkable skills for a big man. Although he was not particularly tall, he was a tower of strength in the lineout. In addition he had a fantastic turn of speed and fine running skills with ball in hand, as he showed in the try he scored against the British Lions in 1968.

Peeling around the front of the lineout from his position in the middle of the two opposing lines, he snared the pass near the touchline and then took off for the try line as if propelled by a turbo booster. His hair bounced wildly as he raced for the line, and after a beautifully executed shimmy, he dived over to score a classic try from all of 40 metres out. Du Preez’s skills extended to kicking – punt, drop or place kick, Frik could do it.

For many years he held the Springbok record, along with the brilliant loose-forward Jan Ellis, for the most test matches played for South Africa, with 38 appearances. This was long before the advent of the global village; teams played far fewer tests and when there was no annual competition for southern hemisphere rugby teams.

A fairer reflection of Du Preez’s career at the top would be to note that he played in the green and gold for over 10 years, making his debut in January 1961 against England and playing his last match for the ‘Boks in August 1971 against Australia. In total he played in 87 games for South Africa, and coincidentally scored 87 points.

At a banquet to honour Du Preez as Rugby Player of the Century, former Springbok coach André Markgraaff told the assembled rugby lovers that it was a pity the Northern Transvaal stalwart could not play the game in the modern professional era: Du Preez, he said, would have shown people what humility was about.

His standing in rugby is not limited to the South African stage. When the Rugby Hall of Fame came into being in 1997, Frik du Preez and Danie Craven were the only South Africans to be voted into it. Judge a man by the company he keeps: among the other players to enter the Hall that year were Gareth Edwards, Colin Meads, Hugo Porta, JPR Williams, Mike Gibson and Willie John McBride.