Cape Town - Villager Rugby Football Club is mourning the death of former player and club president John Gainsford.
The former Springbok centre passed away on Wednesday morning at the age of 77.
“John had been ill for some time, however his passing today has shocked the Villager community,” read a statement on the club’s official website.
Villager FC president Bossie Clarke paid tribute to Gainsford, who scored eight Test tries for the Springboks and held the record of 33 Tests by the time of his retirement in 1967.
“John’s passing has deeply saddened us,” said Clarke. “He was and forever will remain a legend of not only Villager FC but also of Western Province and the Boks. John was adored by the local fans and his record speaks for itself. We offer our heartfelt sympathies to John’s family.”
Gainsford, who made his Springbok debut in 1960 against Scotland, came from what he often described as humble beginnings having gone to school at Lansdowne High - a favourite story of his when speaking about his former team-mates where many went to the traditional rugby playing powerhouses.
Following his retirement, Gainsford formed Logans Sports, the predecessor of today’s Sportsmans Warehouse, in partnership with fellow Springbok and Villager FC member and former president, Dave Stewart.
Gainsford always remained in touch with rugby having sat on the executive for Western Province and became president of Villager FC from 2006-2010 as well as chairing the 1995 Rugby World Cup opening ceremony committee.
Gainsford is survived by his wife Shona and four children.