Former Bok flyhalf Piet Visagie dies: 'He was one of the best in his era'

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Piet Visagie
Piet Visagie
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Former Springbok flyhalf Piet Visagie has died at the age of 79, SA Rugby announced on Friday.

Visagie played in 25 Tests for the Springboks between 1967-1971 and scored 130 points, which included six tries, 20 conversions, 19 penalty goals and five drop goals.

He was involved in a golden age for Springbok rugby, with series victories against France, Australia, New Zealand and the British & Irish Lions to his credit.

SA Rugby President Mark Alexander paid tribute to Visagie, who hailed from the Ammosal Rugby Club and played all of his provincial rugby for Griqualand West.

"Piet played in a tumultuous time for South Africa, with a number of tours, like the one to the UK in 1969/70 and to Australia in 1971 affected by the anti-apartheid protests, but that did not stop his amazing performances for the Springboks," Alexander said. 

"He was one of the best in an era which delivered legendary players such as HO de Villiers, Mannetjies Roux, Joggie Jansen, Dawie de Villiers, Frik du Preez, Jan Ellis and Piet Greyling to name a few. 

"Many people will remember his brilliant performances against New Zealand in 1970, when a quick drop goal sealed a 17-6 win at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria and in the final test at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, a try after a brilliant break by Visagie was the final nail in the coffin for the All Blacks." 

Visagie played in 44 tour matches for South Africa, scoring 240 points (eight tries, 36 conversions, 40 penalty goals and eight drop goals). 

He played against France, whom he debuted against in 1967, the British & Irish Lions, Australia, Scotland, England and New Zealand, with his last Test match against Australia in 1971. 

In 1968, Visagie was a key role player in the Springbok series 3-0 win against the British & Irish Lions and the following season, he amassed a record 41 points in the series against the Wallabies in SA.

He was also instrumental in Griquas' famous Currie Cup triumph in 1970, when they toppled Northern Transvaal in the final in Kimberley, winning 11-9. 

However, at the age of 28, Visagie had a premature end to his career after he broke his leg in a club game in 1972 and did not play again after that. His younger brother, Gawie, played for the Springboks in 1981.

"Our condolences go out to his wife, Carol, their three children, Jacques-Pieter, Caron and Peta-Maria, grand-children, family, loved ones and friends," said Alexander.

"May you find solace in the wonderful memories of Piet during this time of bereavement."

Visagie leaves behind his wife Carol, three children and five grandchildren.

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