July 19, 2016
SA Rugby president Mr Oregan Hoskins on Tuesday extended condolences to the family and friends of former Springbok Lofty Nel, who passed away on Monday afternoon, aged 80.
The former Bok loose forward played the last of his 11 Test matches on 12 September 1970 against New Zealand, aged 35. Nel, who was christened Johannes Arnoldus, played against the All Blacks eight times and also played three tests against Australia.
He made his Test debut on 25 June 1960 against New Zealand in Johannesburg, becoming Springbok #362. Nel played flank in five Tests and No 8 in six.
“It’s always a sad occasion when someone from the rugby family passes away and we would like to extend our condolences to Lofty’s family and friends in this difficult time,” said Mr Hoskins.
“He was a big and abrasive loose forward – one of the hard men of Springbok rugby – during a challenging decade, but always put the jersey first and gave everything he had for his country, living the ethos of the game from day to day.”
Nel played a total of 24 matches for the Springboks and interestingly also played against six touring teams in South Africa for in provincial colours – he faced Ireland (1961), the British & Irish Lions (1962 and 1968), Australia (1963 and 1969), Rhodesia (1966), France (1967) and New Zealand in 1970.
He played most of his provincial rugby for Western Transvaal (now the Leopards), who won the SARB Board Trophy in 1964 under his captaincy and also donned the colours of Transvaal (the Golden Lions) and South Eastern Transvaal (the Pumas), for whom he played his last match aged 39.
Nel’s funeral service will be on Thursday at 11h00 at Wapadrand Reformed Church, Pretoria. He leaves behind his wife, Hester, three children, Dina, Pieter and Hessie, and eight grand children.