Rugby

Former Springbok dies

2010-10-22 13:11

Johannesburg - Former Springbok lock Ernst Dinkelmann, best known for being part of the 1951-52 Springbok tour of Britain, died of a stroke in the Nelspruit Medi-Clinic early on Friday.

Dinkelmann, 83, played six Tests and represented the Springboks 21 times between 1951 and 1953.

He also captained Northern Transvaal [now known as the Blue Bulls] on five occasions and wore the light blue jersey 49 times.

He had a rare talent of being able to play at flank, lock and eighthman.

Rugby remained close to his heart long after his playing years when he coached and served as a selector of the Pretoria squad.

This Blue Bulls rugby legend's many contributions to the then non-professional sport extended to medical treatment, where he put his skills as a medical practitioner to use.

It is in the area of skills development that, even in death, he will continue to improve rugby.

He wrote many of the guidelines coaches still use to teach ball handling skills, and his coaching techniques, which were considered ahead of their time, are also still being used today.

Former Springbok captain Wynand Claassen is just one of the many players who have Dinkelmann to thank for their achievements on the field.

Dinkelmann was also one of the founders of pre-primary school rugby [Bulletjies Rugby], which is aimed at encouraging young players to play running rugby.

"For us as a family, it is a big loss we suffered today even though it did not come as a huge shock when taking his recent health into account," said Dinkelmann’s son Roland.

"My father loved rugby so much he was on the field practically every day and he was probably the best role model a young man could ask for," he said.

Dinkelmann and Saltie du Rand were the first prolific lock combination to come from Pretoria.

Although the Bulls were not happy with the idea at the time, Dinkelmann also assisted the neighbouring Golden Lions in the early 90s, helping former Springbok coach Harry Viljoen to achieve success with the team.

Dinkelmann leaves his wife Lucy, 81, five sons and a daughter.

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