Former Springbok center Peter Cronje passes away aged 70

SA Rugby have paid tribute to former Springbok center Peter Cronje, who passed away on early on Friday 4 September after a battle with cancer, at the age of 70.

Cronje, who would have turned 71 later this month, played 15 matches for South Africa, between 1971 and 1974, including seven test matches and scored a total of five tries in the green and gold.

Springbok center Peter Cronje passes away

Cronje was part of the successful Transvaal team of the early 1970s aiding his ascension into the Springbok frame.

SA Rugby paid tribute to the former Springbok in a statment issued on Friday afternoon.

“Losing a member of our rugby family is never easy and I would like to pay our respects to Peter Cronje, who wore the green and gold with aplomb in the early 1970s,” said Mark Alexander, President of SA Rugby.

“To his family, friends and former team-mates, I extend our condolences during this very difficult time. May you find solace in your memories of Peter, whose name will forever be etched in the history of South African rugby.”

The former Golden Lions (then Transvaal) and Sharks (then Natal) midfielder featured for the development team the Gazelles against the All Blacks in 1970. Cronje made his Test debut a year later, in the first Test against France in 1971 in Bloemfontein.

In 1971, Cronje was a member of the Springbok touring squad to Australia. He featured in all three Tests against the Wallabies and scored a try in the tour-ending encounter in Sydney. The Springboks made a clean sweep of the Wallabies Down Under.

Cronje went on Gazelles’ tours to Argentina in 1972 before playing what would be his final two Tests against the visiting British & Irish Lions in 1974.

The centre was the only Springbok who managed to cross the try line in the ill-fated 1974 series against the tourists from Britain and Ireland. The Lions won three of the four Tests, and the final match ended in a 13-13 draw, with Cronje touching down for the humbled hosts. That score was also the first four-point try for the Springboks (the value of a try increased from three to four points at the end of the 1971 season).

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