Ruben Kruger dies

2010-01-28 07:40

Pretoria - Ruben Kruger, former Springbok flank and 1995 Rugby World Cup winner, has died in Pretoria on Wednesday night after a protracted battle with brain cancer.

GALLERY: Ruben Kruger's career in pictures

VIDEO: The 1995 RWC - Ruben Kruger's defining moment

Kruger, who would have turned 40 on March 30, was diagnosed with a brain tumour soon after his playing career ended in 1999.

Kruger made his Test debut on November 6, 1993 against Argentina in Buenos Aires aged 23. He played his last Test on November 4, 1999 against New Zealand in Cardiff aged 29. He played 36 Tests in total, scoring seven tries. He also played in 20 tour matches.

Kruger had fought back from a broken leg suffered in a Tri-Nations match in 1996 to earn selection to the 1999 World Cup squad and fought his recurring illness with typical bravery and stoicism.

Nicknamed the “Silent Assassin” by coach Kitch Christie during the 1995 Rugby World Cup he scored a controversial try in the semi-final played in a deluge against France in Durban but was denied what appeared to be a certain try by referee Ed Morrison in the Ellis Park final.

Considered the kingpin of the side he was named SA Rugby Player of the Year for 1995.

Kruger, who hailed from Vrede in the Free State and went to Grey College, is survived by his wife Lize and two daughters Zoe and Isabella.

At provincial level he was a stalwart of both Free State and the Blue Bulls.

Kruger had battled the brain tumour since 2000, where it was diagnosed after he blacked out during a game.

After the initial operation to remove the tumour seemed to be a success, Kruger discovered a few years later that the tumour had resurfaced, but battled on against it with a strength that was a hallmark of his playing days.

He was in the news again early in 2009, when he had to be airlifted from Bloemfontein after feeling ill while returning with his family from holiday in Herolds Bay.

A five-hour operation followed, where doctors said they had removed “90 percent” of the tumour in the operation. The tumour was described as "the size of a man’s fist”.

Sadly for Kruger, the tumour was too sensitively placed to completely remove, and it resurfaced in June 2009 when he blacked out while driving and was involved in a car accident.

This past week Kruger began feeling unwell again and was admitted to hospital.

The funeral of Ruben Kruger will take place on Wednesday February 3rd at the CRC Church on the corner of Lynwood and Hans Strijdom Avenue Road in Pretoria East.

The service will start at 10am.


  • Chris - 2010-01-28 07:50

    Rest in peace Ruben. What a sad day for all South Africans. Sympathy to Rubens family. One of my favorite players.

  • StuartW - 2010-01-28 07:53

    Dis 'n baie groot verlies vir SA Rugby en SA in geheel....R.I.P Ruben en dankie vir jou bydrae tot SA Rugby..

  • Garth - 2010-01-28 07:53

    Rest in peace boet. You were a great sportsman and a good ambassador for rugby

  • Hein - 2010-01-28 07:54

    Rest in peace, Ruben. You were a remarkable man and an inspiration to many

  • tokkie - 2010-01-28 07:54

    Totsiens "ou Groot Man" Ons sal jou nooit vergeet nie.

  • jacojvr - 2010-01-28 07:54

    'n groot "Grey-man" - van een oud Grey aan 'n ander - "mooi loop"

  • Jeff Aucamp - 2010-01-28 07:56

    A very sad loss for his family and his country.One of the true legends of the game and a gentlemen to boot! And just for the record,he did score a try in the '95 World Cup Final!!

  • Steve - 2010-01-28 07:56

    Tragic news. Ruben epitomised everything that was good about the Springbok. A true legend. Resr In Peace.

  • Jan - 2010-01-28 07:57

    Sad day for us, he was a example to all in rugby and always played his heart out for his province and country.RIP

  • Abi - 2010-01-28 07:57

    RIP-though not a Blue Bull or Springbok fan, I liked your style of on the field. Great player. My heart goes out to his fam,its heartbreaking indeed. as I also lost my mom to cancer.

  • Riem - 2010-01-28 07:58

    Cheers my mate. I will see you "up there" sometime.

  • Charles - 2010-01-28 07:58

    R.I.P. Ruben. Commiserations to family and friends. A sad day for all Rugby supporters. Thanks for your contribution to our great game.

  • Julian - 2010-01-28 07:58

    Baie hartseer nuus,wat n legende.Een van die harde manne van rugby.Hy het hierdie siekte baklei reg tot die einde.Sterkte aan die Kruger gesin,mag die Here by julle wees in hierdie hartseer tyd.Ons bid vir julle.

  • Jan - 2010-01-28 08:00

    This is a great loss-an amazing rugby player and great family man. Our prayers go out to his family. He started his career in the Free State before moving to the bulls.

  • Thinus - 2010-01-28 08:00

    LEGEND!!!!! Wishing the family well during these sad times.

  • rudi - 2010-01-28 08:00


  • Russell Muller - 2010-01-28 08:01

    R.I.P Ruben you are a legend and will always be remembered ! Deepest sympathy to the Kruger family.

  • Micheal - 2010-01-28 08:01

    What a legend. Rest In Peace.

  • Jeneveve - 2010-01-28 08:01

    RIP Ruben

  • C.K - 2010-01-28 08:01

    Very sad. Rest in peace.

  • fandash - 2010-01-28 08:02

    Rest in peace Ruben. You were a true gentleman and a roll model to young players. I was never a Blue Bulls fan but I was a great admirer of you no matter which team you were playing for. To the Kruger family, be blessed in this difficult time.

  • Hein - 2010-01-28 08:02

    All my support and Prayers to Ruben's family , I do pray that the Holy Spirit comforts you in your great loss and the loss of the country . Ruben , till we meet in Heaven . Shalom

  • Ellie - 2010-01-28 08:02

    Rus in vrede Ruben.... Jy het moedig gestry teen die siekte... net as ons dink dit gaan beter, dan het ons weer van jou terugslag gehoor.... Dit was 'n plesier om jou op die veld dop te hou...Sterkte aan die familie..

  • Dawie - 2010-01-28 08:03

    My hart is seer.. altyd stil, nooit betrokke by enige iets nie en wat 'n speler. Ruben ons sal jou altyd onthou nie net vir jou rugby nie maar vir die mens wat jy was..Lize baie sterte vir jou en jou dogters ek weet dis baie swaar vir julle en onthou julle het baie ondersteuning in die gees

  • Birgit Bosch - 2010-01-28 08:04

    My prayers go out to the family. Ruben, may you rest in peace!!!!!!

  • Arthur Turner - 2010-01-28 08:05

    Rest in peace Ruben, you were not only an oustanding rugby player but person. I feel priviledeged to have known you personally and seen you play. My prays are with his family.

  • Clinton - 2010-01-28 08:05

    A true legend to the game

  • C-Ward - 2010-01-28 08:06

    Another Springbok Legend has gone to rest sadly to early but will be sorely missed by not just us South Africans but also by our Tri Nations partners. RIP Ruben.

  • Johan - 2010-01-28 08:06

    Stil kêrels, daar gaan 'n man verby. Rus in vrede ou grote!

  • Cathy - 2010-01-28 08:07

    What a beautiful person and a fantastic rugby player. He battled this illness as bravely as he played rugby. Today I feel incredibly sad, but priviledged to have seen him play.

  • Chris G - 2010-01-28 08:07

    A very sad loss... by far one of my favourite players to watch. Condolences to his family.

  • Neville - 2010-01-28 08:09

    Ruben, Rest in peace, you were one of the greats of SA Rugby and the World. God's grace, peace and prayers to his Wife, Children and family.

  • aj - 2010-01-28 08:09

    Thanks for the memories Ruben. A giant among men on and off the field...everything was always a 110%. Condolences to the family.

  • Arend - 2010-01-28 08:10

    I am still in shock...What a player, what a will always be remembered as a rugby hero, not just because of 1995, but because of how you conducted your rugby career on and off the field. Ruben may you rest in peace! Our deepest sympathy to Liza, Zoe and Bella.

  • Maestro - 2010-01-28 08:10

    One of the true greats of SA Rugby, massively respected by the All Blacks, surely the greatest accolade a rugby payer can earn. We will miss you Ruben.

  • Dave Reyneke - 2010-01-28 08:11

    RIP One of the truly great flankers of our time

  • Dion - 2010-01-28 08:11

    It is a sad day for Ruben's family. My thoughts are with them and all Ruben's friends and fellow rugby players. Eish Life is to short!!!

  • Henk - 2010-01-28 08:11

    Ruben, jy was 'n YSTER! Baie dankie vir al die genot wat jy my verskaf het met jou rugby. Vir my was jy die verpersoonliking van die moderne Blou Bul.

  • RRR - 2010-01-28 08:11

    Condolences to the family! You are in our prayers!

  • Jaco - 2010-01-28 08:11

    RIP Ruben - you were a legend and one of my all-time favourite Springboks.

  • Dirk - 2010-01-28 08:11

    He lived more in 39 years than some people would be able to live in three lifetimes. Mag die Liewe Vader sy familie vrede gee in hierdie moeilike tyd, Ruben was 'n rolmodel vir elke SA seuntjie en man...

  • Mike - 2010-01-28 08:11

    He will be mist - was the best -

  • Peter M - 2010-01-28 08:12

    Our sincere condolences to Ruben's family. A fine rugby player he was. May you RIP.

  • Fuzzy - 2010-01-28 08:12

    go with peace Reuben, you covered yourself with glory.

  • Benny - 2010-01-28 08:12

    A much respected player. A gentleman of the game. Will be missed by all his fans. My sympathy to his family.

  • Gary - 2010-01-28 08:14

    What a star you were and now you will light up the sky. Rest in peace. All the strength to your family left behind.

  • Notabullsfan - 2010-01-28 08:14

    Jy was 'n doring in vele spanne se sy. Jy sal altyd 'n legend wees. Ons gaan jou mis ou grote.

  • Ben Hawkins - 2010-01-28 08:14

    My innige simpatie aan al sy familie en vriende, laat ons hom onthou vir die goeie sportsman wat hy was. RIP

  • chrisdup - 2010-01-28 08:14

    R.I.P. Ou grote... You were a inspiration and example to a lot of people... Condolences to the Kruger family and friends.

  • STEVE - 2010-01-28 08:15

    Hardest loose forward ever in SA rugby, massive work-rate especially with go-forward ball carring and don't forget the amount of tackles he made per match. All this not to mention his fetching ability - by far the best all-round loose forward ever - this article does not acknowledge or seem to be aware of any of this!