Paul Roos
Full names: Paulus Johannes
Date of birth: 30 Oct 1880
Place of birth: Rus-en-Vrede
School: Paul Roos Gymnasium
Springbok no: 88
Debut test province: Western Province
Physical: 1.8m, 90.7kg
Date of death: 22 Sep 1948 (Age 67)

Test summary: Tests: 4 Tries: 0
First Test: 12 Sep 1903 Age:22 Forward against Britain at Newlands, Cape Town
Last Test: 8 Dec 1906 Age:26 Forward against England at Crystal Palace, London
Test history:
12 Sep 190322ForwardBritainWin: 8-0 Newlands, Cape TownWP
24 Nov 190626Forward (C)IrelandWin: 15-12 Ravenhill Grounds, BelfastWP
01 Dec 190626Forward (C)WalesWin: 11-0 St. Helens, SwanseaWP
08 Dec 190626Forward (C)EnglandDraw: 3-3 Crystal Palace, LondonWP

Polla Roos : Doc Craven

A great man and one who lived his religion.

That is why Sport Pienaar at SA Rugby Board meetings would often say: "Wat sĂȘ jy, Paul?" ("What do you think, Paul?") And at rugby practices Mr. Markotter often said: "Waar is Paul? gaan haal hom om julle te wys hoe om dit te doen." ("Where is Paul?, bring him here so he can show you how it should be done.")

Wherever he was or whatever he did, he formed the corner-stone. When an opponent hit him at Crystal Palace in 1906, he turned the other cheek and nobody was struck again for the rest of the match. When he was a teacher at Rustenburg and played in Pretoria, he travelled back and forth by bicycle on a Saturday, returning before the Sunday as he believed it was wrong to travel on the Sabbath.

During World War 1 when he was a schoolmaster some boys appeared at school one day, some with Union Jacks and others with Vierkleur badges, resulting in stand-up fights and ill-feelings. He called the boys together and said that if anybody wore a flag-badge again, of whatever nature, he would get a hiding in front of everybody, so that he (Paul Roos) could then also demonstrate feelings of a different kind in public. Nobody ever wore a badge again.

When he was dragged into politics and Parliament, he, like his famous team-mate Bob Loubser, subsequently said: "When I played rugby for South Africa the whole country was on my side; now that I've entered politics I feel that I only have half, and the other half I cannot trust. What is more the many friends I made overseas now think I have turned anti-English, which I have not."

For all the seriousness with which he could approach subjects dear to his heart, he had a wonderful sense of humour. When P. K. Albertyn didn't know his Latin lesson at school, Paul told him that he would not allow him to play that Saturday for the school as punishment. P. K. replied: "Sir, but Mr Mark has already asked me to play for the University First Team against Somerset West." Paul burst out laughing with the rest of the class.

In 1906/07 French rugby was still in its infancy and this is what Billy Millar wrote of Paul's after-match speech: "At the banquet that night at the Restaurant Ronceroy, Paul Roos made a carefully guarded speech, but eventually he threw discretion to the winds and advised them to change their motto of: 'Each one for self' to 'All for the team'. He also suggested that they should curb their admiration for the prowess of their opponents, and endeavour to save two points when a player got over the line, instead of standing still and clapping. 'When you collar a man,' said Paul, 'you want to rub his nose in the dirt, and wrestle with him for half an hour. In the meantime the ball is at the other end of the field and you are wasting your time. Once our men crossed your line, you all stood admiring, and let the scorer put the ball between the posts - another two points for us each time. Your forwards had no plan of combined play. All was confusion. Your motto must be 'All for the team', not 'Each one for himself"

Speaking for myself, I would say that I owe a lot to a man I respected not only for his rugby ability and experience, but also for the advice he gave me at my hostel before the 1931/32 tour. "Craven," he said, "I don't want to prescribe to you, but to give you some advice. You are about to embark upon the most precious experience anybody can wish to have and for which nobody can pay. You will get sick and tired of people, of the places they will show you, but talk to them all and visit all the places you can. They have so much to offer over there that we can never stop learning from them."