Phil Nel
Full names: Philip Jacobus
Date of birth: 17 Jun 1902
Place of birth: Kranskop
School: Maritzburg College
Springbok no: 199
Debut test province: Natal
Physical: 1.87m, 95.7kg
Date of death: 12 Feb 1984 (Age 81)

Test summary: Tests: 16 Tries: 1
First Test: 30 Jun 1928 Age:26 Lock against New Zealand at Kingsmead, Durban
Last Test: 25 Sep 1937 Age:35 Lock against New Zealand at Eden Park, Auckland
Test history:
DateAgePositionOpponentResultScoreVenueProv
30 Jun 192826LockNew ZealandWin: 17-0 Kingsmead, DurbanNatal
21 Jul 192826LockNew ZealandLose: 6-7 Ellispark, JohannesburgNatal
18 Aug 192826LockNew ZealandWin: 11-61 tryCrusaders (St George's Park), Port ElizabethNatal
01 Sep 192826LockNew ZealandLose: 5-13 Newlands, Cape TownNatal
05 Dec 193129LockWalesWin: 8-3 St. Helens, SwanseaNatal
19 Dec 193129LockIrelandWin: 8-3 Aviva Stadium (Lansdowne Road), DublinNatal
02 Jan 193229LockEnglandWin: 7-0 Twickenham, LondonNatal
16 Jan 193229LockScotlandWin: 6-3 Murrayfield, EdinburghNatal
08 Jul 193331Lock (C)AustraliaWin: 17-3 Newlands, Cape TownNatal
12 Aug 193331Lock (C)AustraliaWin: 12-3 Ellispark, JohannesburgNatal
26 Aug 193331Lock (C)AustraliaWin: 11-0 Crusaders (St George's Park), Port ElizabethNatal
02 Sep 193331Lock (C)AustraliaLose: 4-15 Springbokpark, BloemfonteinNatal
26 Jun 193735Tight-head Prop (C)AustraliaWin: 9-5 Sydney Cricket Ground, SydneyNatal
17 Jul 193735Lock (C)AustraliaWin: 26-17 Sydney Cricket Ground, SydneyNatal
04 Sep 193735Lock (C)New ZealandWin: 13-6 AMI Stadium (Lancaster Park), ChristchurchNatal
25 Sep 193735Lock (C)New ZealandWin: 17-6 Eden Park, AucklandNatal

Flip Nel : Doc Craven

Philip Nel was one of my heroes when the All Blacks toured South Africa in 1928. Here was another quiet man; a commanding voice however, combined with an attractive, impressive appearance.

When he rose to talk he automatically gained the attention of an audience and commanded their respect. Philip had a very strong personality and an excellent command of both languages.

When we toured Australia and New Zealand in 1937, he got the forwards together and I took the backs, who promptly decided that we wanted to run the ball - no unnecessary kicking. Philip and I later conferred and I told him what the backs wanted. He said: "Danie, the forwards are going to scrum our opponents into the ground first," and that is what they proceeded to do.

Seldom has South Africa ever had as strong a scrummager as Philip, and it was on the 1937 tour that we really started to appreciate that matches are won up front.

If you win the scrums, you win the match - lose there, you lose the match.

In those days one could elect to scrum instead of taking the lineout and during the third and decisive test Philip said at the first opportunity: "All Blacks, we'll take the scrum". I recall the apprehension written all over the All Black's faces.

We scrummed the All Blacks into the ground that day, and it was all due to Philip and his unswerving plan of action that we were able to gain a glorious victory.

Philip was then at the height of his career. Aboard ship on the way home he threw his rugby boots overboard. It was a sad occasion but he retired as captain of the only Springbok side ever to beat New Zealand on their home turf.

An unforgettable player, captain, and man.