Morris Zimerman
Full names: Morris
Date of birth: 8 Jun 1911
Place of birth: Jansenville
School: Jansenville
Springbok no: 212
Debut test province: Western Province
Physical: 1.79m, 81.65kg
Date of death: 10 Jan 1992 (Age 80)

Test summary: Tests: 4 Tries: 1
First Test: 5 Dec 1931 Age:20 Left Wing against Wales at St. Helens, Swansea
Last Test: 16 Jan 1932 Age:20 Left Wing against Scotland at Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Test history:
05 Dec 193120Left WingWalesWin: 8-3 St. Helens, SwanseaWP
19 Dec 193120Left WingIrelandWin: 8-31 tryAviva Stadium (Lansdowne Road), DublinWP
02 Jan 193220Left WingEnglandWin: 7-0 Twickenham, LondonWP
16 Jan 193220Left WingScotlandWin: 6-3 Murrayfield, EdinburghWP

Zim Zimmerman : Doc Craven

Louis Babrow's cousin, Morris Zimerman, was quiet, almost withdrawn. However, when he dashed for the line, his weight in addition to his speed, made him a terror. He was only a first-year student when UCT promoted him to their senior team. Perhaps that was a mistake; for he was an inexperienced youngster from the small village of Jansenville. However he helped UCT win many a match, as he did when I met him on the field the first time on Newlands B; he beat our under-19 team virtually on his own. As a result he was to be a marked man for the rest of his career, especially after the 1931/32 tour where he took his place among the greats.

He took ill after that tour which prevented him from showing his countrymen the brilliant form he had displayed on our tour through the British Isles.

It was on that tour that "Chase it Zimerman", became a standing joke. Whenever a Bennie Osler dropped goal attempt failed, and went to the right of the posts, Bennie used to shout to right-wing Zimerman, "Chase it Zimie"! He always responded with every ounce of his energy and often scored from those kicks. One day Zimie felt he had had enough, and when his captain shouted his order again, he turned around indignantly and replied: "Chase it yourself, Bennie!"

To illustrate Zimie's dangerously high knee action, a Stellenbosch three-quarter once related the following after an intervarsity match between Maties and Ikeys:

"We were warned that it took more than one man to stop Zimerman and that we had to cover extra well whenever the ball went to him. The first few times nothing happened and then came my glorious opportunity to show him that I too could be dangerous. I was there when the ball reached him and I had already licked my lips for the tackle, into which I put everything I had.

I was left stretched out and semi-conscious on the turf.

There were four bumps on my head but where they came from I could not recall except the first one which came from his inside knee. The second, third and fourth must have come from his other knee and his two elbows. Through my misty brain I noticed an old friend and team-mate who had also come up in defence. When he saw what had happened to me he just wanted to get out of Zimerman's way, but he was too slow and was sent flying.

The Ikey went on to score and he was not even aware that the two of us had been in his path.

The worst was still to come.

When I joined my family after the match, my sister's eyes were red and half-closed. I asked why she was crying and she spid: 'Crying? I'm not crying. I'm laughing at the two Maties who tried to stop the Ikey wing!"'

That was Zimie for you; when he had the try-line in his sights there was no stopping him.

He later moved to Johannesburg where he practised law, and played for Transvaal, often against his old Province. After his retirement he graced rugby administration and eventually became the convenor of the SA Selection Committee.

He was mysteriously dropped from the committee, just like his predecessor Frank Mellish, and this slight must have hurt him beyond words, for he bade a final farewell to the game he played so well, and loved so deeply.

Whenever I think of him, I remember his frequent advice to successive Springbok teams: "You must take risks, and if you give away a try in doing so, score more often than your opponents which you will, if you do take risks." How true!