‘A sad day for rugby’

The Springboks have expressed their sadness following the death of Tinus Linee, reports JON CARDINELLI in Dublin.

On Monday morning, Linee lost his battle with motor neuron disease. The news has affected many rugby people from around the world, some of whom have already paid tribute to the former Bok and Western Province centre.

At a press conference in Dublin, members of the Bok management team also paid their respects.

‘It’s a sad day for Western Province rugby and for South African rugby,’ said Bok assistant coach Ricardo Loubscher. ‘Tinus was a great servant to the sport in our country, and it’s very sad to lose him.’

Loubscher said he has many fond memories of playing together with Linee, and recalled the time when both roomed together on the 1996 SA A tour to the United Kingdom.

‘That was my first big tour, and I learned a lot from Tinus who was then a senior player.

'On the field, he had a presence, and you certainly didn’t want to head down that No 12 channel. Even on the training field, you didn’t want to be tackled by Tinus.’

Bok coach Heyneke Meyer extended condolences on behalf of the team as they began their preparations for Saturday’s Test against Ireland.

‘We heard the news from South Africa this morning about Tinus's sad passing and our thoughts were immediately with his family and community in the Western Cape,’ said Meyer.

‘We have lost a Springbok brother and it made for a sombre mood in the team room today. To have one so strong and brave struck down by this disease is very cruel indeed. We’ll be thinking of Tinus and his family when we take the field against Ireland on Saturday. He is in our thoughts and prayers.’

Photo: Thomas Turck/Gallo Images

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Jon Cardinelli