Former Springbok scrumhalf from the 1960s and early 1970s, Dirk de Vos died Saturday from a heart attack February 12th in Potchefstroom at the age of 69.
Born on April 8th, 1940, De Vos was educated at Graeme College, Grahamstown where his father was a dominee. He represented Western Province and Western Transvaal in Currie Cup matches.
Not always popular with the critics, he was often criticized for being a selfish player, but on his day he could be a match-winner with his darting runs and strategic kicks.
Former Bok captain Hannes Marais was sad to hear of De Vos’ death.
“He was a good friend of mine but I knew he wasn’t well lately as he did not join us for recent reunions,” Marais said from his home in Port Elizabeth Sunday.
“Dirkie could do brilliant things but would often play his own game.
“He loved to kick and charge and if it worked that was wonderful for the team,” Marais added.
De Vos represented South Africa in three Test matches, touring Ireland and Scotland in 1965, the United Kingdom in 1969-70 and Australia in 1971.
He played Tests against Scotland at Murrayfield in 1965 and 1969 – both games were lost – and replacing an injured Springbok captain Dawie de Villliers, he played one home Test at Newlands against Australia in 1969.
For most of his international career De Vos played in the shadow of both De Villiers and Piet Uys.
After the devastating tour of Ireland and Scotland when both internationals were lost, De Vos was sacked for 1965 tour of Australia and New Zealand and former captain Nelie Smith took his place as understudy to De Villiers. De Vos only able to reclaim a place in 1969.
The “Umbrella Test” at Newlands saw De Vos play an outstanding game along with Piet Visagie at flyhalf, and he was selected for the demo-hit tour of the United Kingdom in 1969-70. On the tour of Australia in 1971 he was deputy scrumhalf to Joggie Viljoen.
Altogether he played 18 matches in the green and gold.
De Vos owned a small shop in Potchefstroom where he sold sporting knick knacks. He leaves his wife Amanda, two sons and a daughter and one grandchild.
- Peter Martin