Ian Kirkpatrick, great rugby man, died suddenly at his home in Helderberg Village on Sunday.
On Friday he complained of a 'stomach upset' and cancelled a meeting with an overseas company about to make a documentary on the 1974 tour, when Kirkpatrick was a national selector.
His playing career was great. He left Kimberley Boys' high and at the age of 19 and played for Griquas. The next year he went to the Springbok trials at Newlands when the great Springbok team was chosen for the 1951-52 tour. In 1953 he made his Springbok debut against the Wallabies at Newlands, playing flyhalf.
Kirkie played for South Africa in 13 Tests. Of the 13 two were lost, and on each occasion it was at Newlands (against Australia and France) and he was at flyhalf. In 10 Tests he was at centre in partnership with John Gainsford.
Those Tests were successive, starting with the match against Scotland in 1960 and ending against France in 1961. There were four Tests against New Zealand and then Tests against Wales, Ireland, England, Scotland and France on tour. Those were days when centres played left and right. On the 1956 tour to New Zealand., he played in the second Test, the only one the Springboks won in New Zealand.
Ian played his provincial rugby for Griquas and Free State. He was employed by Shell in Bloemfontein, then ran his own garage in Kimberley and then became an outstanding coach.
Perhaps his greatest feat was coaching a Griquas team to victory over Northern Transvaal in the 1970 Currie Cup Final. He was also a Springbok selector and after the debacle of 1974 he coached the team in its tour to France which did so much to steady the ship. Johan Claasen was the appointed coach but fell ill and Kirkie took over.
He coached in Port Elizabeth and then Transvaal. In 1978, after the SA Rugby Board had been formed to include the Federation and the Association, Nelie Smith was appointed director of coaching. He went off and in 1982 Doc Craven persuaded the Transvaal to release Kirkie from his post as their director of coaching to become the Board's director of coaching.
Kirkie gathered Abe Williams and Piet Kellerman to form a coaching arm. When Williams went off, Dougie Dyers came in. Craven had the slogan: We will change South Africa on the rugby field. This is what his team set out to do, travelling the length and breadth of the country, holding clinics, encouraging mixed race rugby. They went to cities, towns and dorps. They also started the Project Week for provincial schools teams, each team composed 50-50 by race. All of that came to an end with the politically acceptable unification of 1992. It also ended Kirkie's involvement with SARFU. The impetus given by Kirkie and his team was summarily brought to an end. The only project which survived was the fishing tournament. His treatment caused him much grief.
But off he went to Stellenbosch and coached Maties. He was still the Under-19 coach at the time of his death.
It is hard to find a greater contribution to South African rugby than Kirkie's. He had a passion for it based on the firmest of principles which led Craven to call him the Mule. His fear was that South African rugby was in 'terrible trouble'. Like Craven anything opposed to the best interests of rugby was anathema.
And he also played as much golf as possible.
He was part of a sporting family. His wife Norma and his sister Rhoda played hockey for South Africa. Rhoda was married to Richard Lockyear, the Springboks scrumhalf.
Alexander Ian Kirkpatrick was born in Bloemfontein on 25 July 1930. His father was on the railways and so the family moved. He went to Merchiston Junior in Pietermaritzburg, Grey High in Port Elizabeth and Kimberley Boys' High. He died on Sunday 18 November 2012, survived by his wife Norma and children Richard, Bridget, Alexander and Ian.
By Paul Dobson
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The entire All Blacks apparel line has been updated for 2013/14. Check out the New Zealand All Blacks polo.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Gilbert Blitz 8S rugby cleat is a great cleat at a great price of $69.99. Get a new pair of cleats today.
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The All Blacks Performance t-shirt is black with hints of blue from the training jersey. Very Cool.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.