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SA Rugby legend dies

November 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

RIP, Ian Kirkpatrick or Kirkie as he was known to various rugby people around the world. Ian Kirkpatrick (not the All Black flanker) done it all and he did it his way. He played, selected and coached the Springboks. Ian Kirkpatrick was rugby in every sense.

Kirkie’s debut for his first of 13 tests (two at flyhalf & 11 at inside centre) was against the Wallabies in 1953 at Newlands. He was 23 years old. His last test was in 1961 in Paris against the French.

Kirkie was on the winning side 8 times, drew 3 and lost 2 tests. He played against the Wallabies (1), All Blacks (5), Scotland (2), France (2), England, Wales and Ireland in one test each.

Kirkie, in his retirement years, not that he ever did retire, was a legend at Maties: but, also in the Somerset West area where he was involved with school boy’s rugby in the 90’s!

I was fortunate to spend two years of coaching with him. He was my mentor although he let me be in complete control; he would give advice and although, on occassions, we might have disagreed on gameplan etc he let me feel that I was on the right track and stood behind me.

He would also be remembered in Kimberley when he coached Griquas in 1970 to their third Currie Cup, by beating a star studded Blue Bulls team by 11-9!

He told me that for all the good he has done as player and coach, people still remember how he was part of the 1974 Bok selection fiasco with their ‘horses for course’ approach.

What have I learned form Kirkie:

– to always be honest with players/people. If you drop someone, don’t bullshit them by saying you see him as a ‘impact player’ etc. Tell him that you feel that he is not good enough and give him something that he can improve on.

– never burn your bridges

– never judge a player on size or his colour, but rate him on his abillity

– never tell a player not to try something, because of the fear of failure. Players must be encourage to play what they see in front of them.

– believe in yourself otherwise players won’t believe in you.


RIP Kirkie! Surely Doc will be waiting for you at the gate!

4 responses to SA Rugby legend dies

  1. Hi Kevin

    Sad day indeed, I still hear him shouting “you bloody rubbish” on the coaching field as he always did!-he had some advice once or twice while I was playing at under 16 level at school, and also with my older brother at the time some time prior to that!

    May he rest in peace-am sure some interesting rugby talk going on between him Doc and Oubaas Mark!


  2. Sad day .He was heavliy involved with coaching rugby to school children .

  3. i met him at my time in Stellies. Never played rugby under him but helped preseason one year. Straight talking man. A true ledgend of the game and a true gentleman.

  4. Jammer om aan n legende vaarwel te se,rus in vrede en sterkte aan sy familie.
    Jan van Riebeek,dit is aangenaam om jou hier te sien deelneem,sien uit na jou menings.

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