Currie Cup

WP legend says farewell

2014-10-03 14:24
Hennie Bekker (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - After a 45-year association with Newlands, former Springbok Hennie Bekker has said goodbye to Western Province in an official capacity.

The 62-year-old gentle giant has officially retired as an employee of Western Province, having served the union with distinction for so many years.

An imposing lock in his playing days, Bekker played his first match at Newlands as an Under-19 player in 1969, before becoming a Western Province player in the 1970s and, after his retirement as a player (in 1985), he served here as a coach, a manager and, up until last month, the head of the union's School of Excellence.

Under Bekker’s tutelage the likes of Jean de Villiers, Eben Etzebeth, Nizaam Carr and Cheslin Kolbe - just to name four recent players - have progressed from talented schoolboy players into top-class players.

Hennie’s son, Andries, also came to prominence via the WP Rugby youth system, as Bekker Jr played 29 Tests for the Springboks and in 2013 became the first-ever Stormers player to play 100 Super Rugby matches for the franchise.

“I’ve been fortunate to have had a long association with WP Rugby, as a player and a coach/administrator,” said Bekker Snr, who played 108 matches for Western Province between 1974 and 1985 and two Springbok Tests (both against the All Blacks) in 1981.

“I will take many memories with me, but it’s the many friendships and personal connections that I made that I will treasure most.

“Having been fortunate enough to watch my son play 100 matches for the Stormers is also very dear to me and I will continue to support the team - not just in the remainder of the 2014 season, but in seasons to come too.”

WPRFU president Thelo Wakefield, speaking at Bekker's farewell function with WP Rugby staff members on Tuesday, told the WP Rugby website: “I remember watching Hennie Bekker as a player and I was fortunate to spend a lot of time with him on tour with the Stormers. We became very close and shared many, many happy memories.

“He’s basically given his entire life to Western Province and I wish him and his wife, Renetha, all the best and an enjoyable retirement.

“Hennie and his wife will also be guests of ours at the next Western Province home match (on October 11 v Sharks), but I have no doubt we will see him back at Newlands supporting his teams for years to come.”

Read more on:    wp  |  currie cup  |  cape town  |  rugby

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