Des van Jaarsveldt, Rhodesian Rugby Legend, Turns 95

Des van Jaarsveldt, the oldest living Springbok and first Rhodesian to captain South Africa's national rugby team, celebrated his 95th birthday, marking a lifetime of achievements in rugby, boxing, and sports administration in Southern Africa. The article highlights his notable rugby career, including his Test cap against Scotland, and his contributions to the sport as a coach, administrator, and inspiration to generations. This description focuses on the primary topic (Des van Jaarsveldt's 95th birthday and rugby career), main entities (Des van Jaarsveldt, South Africa's national rugby team, Scotland), context (Southern Africa), significant actions (his rugby career, contributions to the sport), and objective details (his age, rugby achievements, and inspiration to generations). This summary will guide the AI in generating an accurate and meaningful visual representation of the article's content.

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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Des van Jaarsveldt, Rhodesian Rugby Legend, Turns 95

Des van Jaarsveldt, Rhodesian Rugby Legend, Turns 95

Des van Jaarsveldt, the oldest living Springbok and first Rhodesian to captain South Africa's national rugby team, celebrated his 95th birthday on Easter Sunday this year. Born on 31 March 1929 in Bulawayo, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), van Jaarsveldt left an indelible mark on the sport both as a player and later as a coach and administrator.

Nicknamed the "Bald Eagle" for his pace and distinctive bald head, van Jaarsveldt played on the wing and at flank. He earned his sole Test cap as captain against Scotland on 30 April 1960 at the Boet Erasmus Stadium in Port Elizabeth. In an 18-10 victory for the Springboks, van Jaarsveldt scored a try, cementing his place in rugby lore.

Van Jaarsveldt's athletic prowess extended beyond the rugby pitch. In 1950, he represented Southern Rhodesia as a heavyweight boxer in the South African Championships, showcasing his versatility and competitive spirit.

After hanging up his boots, van Jaarsveldt continued to contribute to Rhodesian rugby as a coach and administrator during the country's transition to Zimbabwe. His dedication to the sport earned him recognition from the British Empire, being appointed a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 1963 New Year Honours for "services to sport in Southern Rhodesia."

In 1983, van Jaarsveldt briefly ventured into politics, unsuccessfully standing for a seat in the Senate of Zimbabwe. Despite this foray, his legacy remains firmly rooted in his contributions to rugby and sports in Southern Africa.

As Des van Jaarsveldt celebrates his 95th birthday, his achievements as the first Rhodesian Springbok captain, a heavyweight boxer, and a dedicated servant to the sport of rugby continue to inspire generations. His tryscoring performance against Scotland in 1960 and his enduring commitment to the game have solidified his place among the pantheon of African rugby greats.

Key Takeaways

  • Des van Jaarsveldt, 95, is the oldest living Springbok and first Rhodesian captain.
  • He earned his sole Test cap as captain against Scotland in 1960, scoring a try.
  • Van Jaarsveldt was a versatile athlete, also representing Southern Rhodesia in heavyweight boxing.
  • He was appointed MBE in 1963 for services to sport in Southern Rhodesia.
  • Van Jaarsveldt contributed to rugby as a coach, administrator, and briefly, a politician.