Five former Springboks recover from Covid-19

Divan Serfontein (Gallo Images)
Divan Serfontein (Gallo Images)

Five former Springboks who recently tested positive for the coronavirus have since recovered.

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Sport24 reported late last month that Danie Gerber, Divan Serfontein, Colin Beck, Burger Geldenhuys and Robbie Blair had all tested positive for the disease after playing in a golf day for former Springboks in Jan Kempdorp.

The first confirmed case was that of Gerber, the legendary former centre, and in subsequent days it was confirmed that Serfontein, Beck, Geldenhuys and Blair also tested positive.

Gerber's daughter Elanie and his wife Elsabe also tested positive for the disease and it was reported that they were recovering at their family home in Bluewater Bay, Port Elizabeth.

All five of the former Springboks have recovered and an update on their health was provided by another former Springbok, prop Toks van der Linde, who spoke on kykNET's informal Afrikaans chat programme, Toks en Tjops, on Friday evening.

The show also includes former Springbok wing Breyton Paulse, and due to South Africa's Covid-19 lockdown, it was broadcast virtually on Friday with all members in front of their computer screens at home.

Van der Linde said it was only Geldenhuys, a former Northern Transvaal (now Blue Bulls) loose forward, who needed to be hospitalised.

"Danie is recovering well. Burger also... Burger was the only one of the five who got it (coronavirus) who ended up in hospital. But he's also much better now," Van der Linde said.

The former Western Province prop added: "What I also found out from Divan Serfontein is that all of them have been cleared by the Department of Health. They're all healthy now and up and about again."

Of the above-mentioned Springboks, Blair was the only one not on the infamous 1981 tour to New Zealand - a tour for which the golf day was a reunion.

"It was a tough period for that team. They had a tough time in New Zealand... and I think that fighting spirit helped pull them through," Van der Linde added.

The Springboks' 1981 tour polarised opinions and led to widespread protests across New Zealand. Apartheid had made South Africa an international pariah and countries were strongly discouraged from having sporting contacts with it. However, despite the controversy, the New Zealand Rugby Union decided to proceed with the tour.

In the three-Test series, the All Blacks won the first clash in Christchurch 14-9. The Springboks bounced back in the second Test in Wellington, winning 24-12. The third and deciding Test in Auckland was marred by controversy both on and off the field. A low-flying plane dropped flour-bombs on the pitch while a late debatable penalty awarded to the home side saw the All Blacks sneak a 25-22 win.

- Compiled by Herman Mostert

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