In his playing days, Gert Kotzé was an extremely strong, silent prop, a man of stature, a principled man of great loyalty and at the same time humble man who loved his fellow man.
After schooling at Hoërskool Vredendal, up on the West Coast, Kotze made his home at the Cape. Sanlam was his firm, Northerns his club, and he did both firm and club proud.
A prop at a time when there were many good props in the Western Province – for example Springboks Hannes Marais, Tiny Neethling, Andrew Janson and Derek van den Berg. Despite the competition, Kotzé played for Western Province from 1963 to 1969. The Currie Cup was up for grabs in only 1964 and 1966, and Province won it both times, with Kotze’s help. Doug Hopwood was the captain 1964, John Gainsford in 1966.
In 1964 Kotzé was in the Province side that beat the touring French 20-11, just before they beat the Springboks in Springs. In 1969 he was in the team that lost 14-8 to the Wallabies whom the Springboks whitewashed 4-0 in the series.
In 1966, Northerns, the only club Kotzé played for, won the Grand Challenge Cup, Western Province’s main club trophy, dating back to 1883.
In 1967, France toured again to replace the cancelled All Black tour and South African rugby looked for redemption after the miseries of 1965. Kotzé, Gys Pitzer and Tiny Neethling formed a strong Springbok front row in a series which the Springboks won 2-1 with a drawn Test at Newlands.
It seemed that Kotzé would continue in the Springbok side against the 1968. He was actually selected but an ankle injury struck and he did not play for South Africa again.
Playing over, Kotzé obtained a BCom cum laude from the University of Stellenbosch and was a senior manager at Sanlam’s head office when he retired in 1998.
The last three years of Kotze’s life he was in poor health, as his body weakened and he was confined to a wheelchair.,
Gerrit Jacobus Maas Kotzé was born in Vredendal on 12 August 1940. He died in Durbanville on 29 January 2020, survived by his wife Margrieth, their children Gerrit and Namari, and three grandchildren.