South Africa President Jacob Zuma on Friday “expressed deep sadness” and extended his condolences on the passing of legendary former South African Rugby Union (Saru) captain Salie Fredericks, who died on Thursday, at the age of 74.
Salie, who had suffered from diabetes and had had both legs amputated, was due to be buried on Friday.
In a statement, Zuma said: “Mr Fredericks was an exceptional lock in nonracial rugby in the 1960s and 1970s and played in over 200 games for Western Province and nine games for the Saru national team between 1963 and 1974, with his last match at Athlone Stadium in September 1974.
“The country has lost one of its best ever rugby players who made an indelible contribution to rugby and fought for nonracialism in sport. He was a remarkable player who selflessly chose to make a difference in South Africa’s sporting code, especially in teaching black youngsters. We wish to convey our condolences to the Fredericks family and the sports fraternity at large. May his soul rest in peace.”
Under Salie’s leadership, Western Province won the Rhodes Cup for three years in succession, from 1971 to 1973. Fredericks also showed his great prowess as an exceptional lock in nine “interracial” tests against the African Springboks and the SA Rugby Federation’s Proteas between 1963 and 1974, scoring three tries in the process.