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It is safe to assume that your ability as a rugby player must be of a gold standard if it meant being named the South African Player of the 20th Century which is the case in point with former Springbok and Northern Transvaal lock, Frik du Preez.

Frik du Preez is a name synonymous with rugby’s hard men, tough as nails and arguably South Africa’s first enforcer. Brutal in a tackle and agile on attack, he was athletic in build and intelligent around the field. A behemoth of the game.

Du Preez earned over a century of first class caps for Northern Transvaal between 1958 and 1971 where he helped the union to win several Currie Cup titles while his Springbok career was just as illustrious as the lock cum flank wore the green and gold for a decade.

Surprisingly, it was his ability to kick for points, both place kicking and drop kicks, that set him aside from the rest, much like Australia’s John Eales, although the latter was yet to even stroll onto a rugby pitch let alone play on one when Du Preez was enjoying his heyday.

It was not just his kicking ability that he was renowned for but also his prowess in the lineout despite Du Preez only being 1.89m tall. A tad shorter than the giants that run the lineout these days yet Du Preez was a formidable option at a lineout. Just another feather in his cap.

Yet if one had to choose only one moment from Du Preez’s golden run it would have to be the 1969 Currie Cup final between Northern Transvaal and Western Province where Du Preez famously scored a penalty goal, drop goal and a try which allowed the men in the light blue jersey to win 28-13.

Whatever Frik du Preez did on the field, one could be assured that it would be done almost always perfectly and his feats will live on in our memory for a long time to come. A living legend from the Blue Bulls Rugby Union.

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