Former Springbok captain Nelie Smith passes away


Cornelius 'Nelie' Smith, the former South Africa coach and captain, has died at the age of 81 due to heart failure.

Smith played seven Tests for the Springboks, captaining the side in four of those, before winning 12 of 15 matches as coach in the early 1980s.

Six days before his 82nd birthday, Smith passed away in Strand, where he lived, on Monday.

"'Oom Nelie' was one of the best. It is only a selected few who played for, captained and coached the Springboks and he was one of those," said South Africa Rugby president Oregan Hoskins.

"His rugby knowledge was massive and he has touched the lives of thousands of players over the many years he coached.

"He was in high demand as a coach all over the world and achieved success in countries such as Italy and Ireland as well.

"His approach to basics like fitness and handling was well-known and many players will remember his driving maul techniques with a smile today."