Tinus Linee first made himself known at the Craven Week in Paarl in 1987, a generous Craven Week with 28 teams.
He was playing for Western Province League and their first match was against powerful Northern Transvaal, but Linee was in the midfield. Say Tinus Linee and you say Tackling. He tackled the Northern Transvalers, fed by an abundance of possession, so that they battled for their little victory.
He was back at Craven Week in 1988, this time in a centre partnership with Chester Williams. That year they lost all three of their matches but to strong sides - 11-6 to Free State, who had future Springbok centres Pieter Müller and Heinrich Fuls in their side, 13-6 to Natal and 13-12 to Northern Free State. Linee and Williams tackled and tackled and were the wonder of the week. Of that Western Province League side Cornel Wiese played flank for SA Schools and Linee and Willaims were chosen for a Craven Week Invitation XV
Right throughout his playing career Linee was renowned for his tackling, and it took him a long way.
After leaving Paulus Joubert in Paarl, Linee joined the army and became an instructor. He played for Defence, which was then a strong club in the Western Province, and made his provincial debut in 1992. He eventually played 112 matches for Western Province between 1992 and 2001 - a hero, a popular warrior at Newlands along with his great friend Chester Williams.
Linee tackled, for sure, but he had skills beyond that - a strong centre, capable of offloading in the tackle before such a skill became as popular as it is today.
In 1993 he toured the UK with the SA Barbarians and became a Springbok, touring Australia. He played in five matches on the tour but no Tests. He scored a try in their victory over Sydney. In 1994 he was again chosen for the tour to Wales, Scotland and Ireland, Kitch Christie's first involvement with the Springboks. Linee played four times and scored a try against Wales A but did not make the Test side.
Dougie Dyers, the great player, coach and administrator, who was involved in Linee's career from Under-13 on, said of him on hearing the news of his death: "Tinus was a great role model for our young players. He showed how it was possible to come from humble beginnings to the top of the game through talent and courage."
Linee eventually left the army and was employed by Western Province RFU in the department involved in coaching and recruitment.
In 2013 Linee was diagnosed with motor neuron disease, a horrible, all-encompassing disease. Linee suffered greatly. The Western Province team doctor at the time, Francois Majoos, also contracted disease and died shortly afterwards. Joost van der Westhuizen is the most prominent sufferer of the disease. Rugby did its best to help Linee, including financially.
Marthinus Linee was born in Paarl on 23 August 1969. He died at his home in Paarl in the night of 2 November 2014, survived by his former wife and their daughter and his present wife, Diana, and her two sons. Apart from his tackling he will be remembered as the most friendly of men, always smiling broadly.
There will be great sorrow at the brave man's death and an upwelling of sympathy for his family.
Western Province extended their condolences to the family of Linee:
Linee, 45, played 112 matches at centre for Western Province between 1992 and 2001 and will be remembered as a loyal WP player with a no-nonsense approach to defence as displayed by his bone-crunching tackles.
He made his Springbok debut in 1993 - at the age of 23 - and went on to play nine tour matches for his country in Australia, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
"This is a sad, sad day for Western Province and South African Rugby," WPRFU President Thelo Wakefield said.
"Tinus fought a very brave battle against a dreadful disease and his tenacity and guts will always be remembered - as a rugby player and during the past 18 months.
"Our thoughts are with his entire family, especially his wife Diana, who stood like a rock beside her husband."
Linee - who was first diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease in April 2013 - worked as a WPRFU development officer after hanging up his playing boots, whilst he was also a member of the WP Vodacom Cup management team in 2008.
Linee is survived by his wife Diana, her two sons and a daughter of his own (from his first marriage).