If ever a man made rugby his life, that man was Nelie Smith. As a player he gave everything, but it was when he started coaching that it became more apparent that the game was his consuming interest.
When he couldn't get what he wanted in South Africa, he left for Italy where he carried on the good work. He is now back in South Africa, and I hope he will carry on where he left off before going abroad again.
Nelie enjoyed great success while coaching Orange Free State, to the extent that they won the Currie Cup in 1976, beating Western Province in the final.
I'm not sure whether any Springbok team he coached were ever beaten and in Rovigo, Italy, he experienced the same sucess as he had here. A gifted player and an even more gifted coach.