A FORMER Springbok rugby three-quarter, Bennett Howe, known throughout the rugby fraternity as “Peewee”, died in Port Elizabeth on April 22nd, 2010, after suffering for some years from Alzheimer’s Disease. Born August 30th, 1932, he was 77.
Howe represented South Africa on a tour to Australia and New Zealand in 1956. Chosen as one of three flyhalves – the others were Clive Ulyate and Brian Pfaff – he played altogether 18 matches on the tour, some at centre, scoring three tries, including one on his debut in the first Test against New Zealand at Dunedin. The Springboks lost that hard-fought series 3-1.
In the third Test at Christchurch, the All Blacks brought back out of retirement former boxer Kevin Skinner, who had toured South Africa in 1949, and he immediately “dealt” with prop Chris Koch in the first half and Jaap Bekker in the second, both of whom had shown their superiority in the scrums in the first two Test matches. Bekker ended the match with his face a bloody mess.
Howe also played in the fourth and final Test at Auckland, partnering scrumhalf Popeye Strydom which South Africa had to win to draw the series, but lost 11-5.
Like most of the backline on that tour he found the soft conditions difficult and he was one of the busiest players on the tour after centres Wilf Rosenberg, Ian Kirkpatrick, Pat Montini and Pfaff, a virtual passenger on the New Zealand section, suffered hamstring injuries.
Howe also represented Border at cricket in two matches in 1955/56.
Sadly, for the past few years he had been staying at a nursing home in Port Elizabeth, unable to recognize his family and friends because of his illness.
He leaves his wife Anne and children Gareth, Michael and Janet and grandchildren.
- Peter Martin