Cape Town - Piet Malan, whose brainchild
was the establishment of the Craven Week and, until Sunday, the oldest living
Springbok, passed away in his sleep on Sunday at the age of 96.
Oregan Hoskins, president of the South
African Rugby Union, expressed his condolences to the family. “He was a great
man,” said Hoskins. “I knew him from many years as a regular visitor to what is
now Emirates Airlines Park and his passion for the game of rugby never faded.
“His idea of establishing an interprovincial schools tournament in the early 1960s has left a legacy that
although it bears the name of another (Danie Craven), is a tribute to Piet’s
contribution to rugby and his career in education. He was lesson to us all.”
Malan was born in Parys - a year after the
ending of the First World War - and was educated at the nearby Potchefstroom
Gymnasium and Potchefstroom University. He played rugby for Western Transvaal
at the age of just 20 before moving to Transvaal to take up his first teaching
He played for Diggers and Transvaal in the
period following the Second World War and won his sole Test cap in 1949 - when
international rugby resumed for South Africa after an 11-year hiatus that
coincided with Malan’s best years.
He was selected for the fourth Test against
the 1949 All Blacks - having played them twice for Transvaal on the tour - at
St George's Park in Port Elizabeth. Malan was on the flank as the Springboks
completed a 4-0 whitewash with an 11-8 victory.
He retired from rugby in 1951 but his close
connections with sport continued as he was to become the first director of
sport at Potchefstroom University and did much to develop the university’s
His idea of establishing a schools
interprovincial tournament was inspired by the 75th anniversary of the old
South African Rugby Board. The first Craven Week was held in 1964 and will
continue its unbroken run ever since next week in Stellenbosch.
He is survived by his wife, Hansie, four
daughters, 11 grandchildren and as many great-grandchildren.