Former Springbok loses leg
Sarel van der Walt and Retha Grobbelaar
Johannesburg – Legendary former Springbok wing Syd Nomis has had his left leg amputated in Zurich, Switzerland.
Nomis (69), who played in 25 successive Tests for the Boks from 1966-1971, left for Switzerland about two weeks ago to visit his son Gary and his family.
Nomis, who played for Transvaal in 54 games over a period of 11 years from 1963, contracted pneumonia as well as blood clots in his left leg according to family member Barney Girnun.
The leg was amputated above the knee on Sunday night.
Girnun said that Nomis was still in a hospital in Zurich.
He apparently woke up briefly on Monday and said: “I’ve been to hell and back, but nothing gets a Nomis down.”
Girnun said that the family was deeply shocked about what had happened.
“He is our hero.”
Many of the country’s older rugby fans will remember Nomis for the intercept try that he scored in the first Test against Brian Lochore’s All Blacks at Loftus Versfeld in 1970.
It will not be remembered so much as a special try, but rather for legendary commentator Gerhard Viviers’s description: “Die bal kom uit van Lochore, na Cotrell . . . en Syd Nomis onderskep die bal! Siddie! Siddie! Siddie! en hy druk hom . ..”
Nomis admitted later that he was living on in people’s memories thanks to that bit of commentary.
“Till today a lot of people know who I am thanks to Gerhard Viviers,” Nomis told Beeld years ago.
When Viviers wrote a book in 1997, he wrote in a copy to Nomis: “Thanks for making me famous!”
Nomis was a pallbearer with Frik du Preez, Mof Myburgh, Piston van Wyk, Jan Ellis and Piet Uys at Viviers’s funeral in 1998.
Viviers broadcast all 25 Tests in which Nomis played and they were big friends.
Nomis spent hours by Viviers’s side when he was on his death bed.
Nomis, who is a member of the International Jewish Sports Hall Of Fame, was knocked out by All Black fullback Fergie McCormick in the second Test at Newlands. He lost some of his teeth in the process.
Viviers considered Nomis and Jannie Engelbrecht as the two best Springbok Test wings.
Nomis is still regularly spotted at Coca-Cola Park in Johannesburg and has been a Lions supporter through thick and thin.
He played for Transvaal with former Springboks Dawie de Villiers, Piet Greyling and TV commentator Hugh Bladen.