5 Dec 2018
Dr Gert Brynard played on the wing for South Africa in its worst of years but survived to enjoy the victories of three years later. A medical student at Stellenbosch, Brynard played for Maties and in 1963 made his debut for Western Province, playing for them till 1965 and again in 1968. The Currie Cup was in competition in one of those years. Western Province won it in 1964.
In 1963 he played twice against the strong Wallaby touring team, on the winning side in both matches. He was on the wing for Southern Universities who beat them 11-9 and then for Western Province who won 17-8. The Wallabies won two of the four Tests against the rattled Springboks. In 1965, a sad year for Springbok rugby as they lost seven Tests in succession, including two against Australia. But worse than the lost matches, was the speech made by prime minister HF Verwoerd at Loskop Dam, making it clear that Maori players would not be welcome on the scheduled 1967 All Black tour of South Africa’s, thus leading to the cancellation of the tour.
There were 30 matches on the 1965 tour. Brynard played in 19 of them. He scored a try against Western Australia in his first match in a Springbok jersey, playing at centre for he could play on either wing, centre and scrumhalf, his position when first he came to Maties. He was chosen as a centre for the tour but played centre only four times on the tour, wing 15 times. The other players on the your who played on the wing were Wynand Mans, Syd Nomis, Jannie Engelbrecht, Kerneels Cronjé and Trix Truter.
Brynard’s Test debut was against Australia at Sydney Cricket Ground, which the Wallabies won 18-11. His second Test was the first against the All Blacks, which the All Blacks won 6-3, but Brynard’s third Test appearance was a notable victory for the troubled Springboks. That one the Springboks won 19-16 when Brynard scored two tries, one the much photographed high dive to score against three defenders. That was the Test in which Tiny Naudé scored the winning points with a penalty goal. The fourth Test was a hammering for South Africa as they lost 20-3.
In 1966 he moved from Bellville to Heidelberg and played for South Western Districts till called back to Western Province in 1968.
The B&I Lions came in 1968. Brynard played in the last two Tests, replacing Corra Dirksen as South Africa won 11-6 and 19-6. He and Dirksen were different kinds of wings – Brynard swift and elusive, Dirksen relying more on power.
That was the end of Dr Brynard’s rugby career as he went off to Zastron to practise medicine. His medical practice took him to several parts of South Africa and Namibia. His last practice was in Aranos in Namibia, after which he retired, first to Hermanus and then to Onrus.
Gert Steenkamp Brynard was born in Calvinia on 21 October 1938. His high school was at Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch after which he moved over to the university. He died in Onrus on Saturday, 1 December 2018, survived by Rhoda, his wife of 55 years who was the niece of Springbok Peewee Howe, their two children Nikki and Niel, and three grandchildren.