Frik du Preez, Northern Transvaal (Blue Bulls) great and SA Player of the 20th Century, was honoured on Monday by the Blue Bulls Rugby Union when the Northern Pavilion at Loftus Versfeld was named after the former Springbok lock.
‘Oom Frik’, who spent most of his career at lock or on the flanks, was born on 28 November 1935 and represented Northern Transvaal and the Springboks. He represented the Springboks on 87 occasions (including 38 Test matches) and scored a total of 87 points.
An excellent all-round footballer, Du Preez made his Test debut for the Springboks on 7 January 1961 on the flank against a powerful England team at Twickenham. He played his last Test on 7 August 1971 at the age of 35, wearing the No 4 jersey, against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
In the 1969 Currie Cup final against Western Province, Du Preez put in a masterful performance, kicking a penalty and a drop goal before scoring a try and converting it. Northern Transvaal won the match 28-13.
Although he was not particularly tall, standing at 1.89m, he was a tower of strength in the lineout, had a fantastic turn of speed and fine running skills with ball in hand, as he showed in the try he scored against the British Lions in 1968.
According to Willem Strauss, president of the Blue Bulls Rugby Union, honoring Du Preez further enhances the union’s strategic goal of keeping values, traditions, and history strong. This also includes bringing back the light-blue jersey (the Daisy) and making the Carlton League strong again.
‘Oom Frik is an all-time legend and thanks to him, the players before him and those that followed, Loftus Versfeld and the Vodacom Bulls became iconic in the world of rugby,’ said Strauss.
Du Preez said that the accolade is a tremendous honour for him, and he thanked the Blue Bulls for honouring him in this way: ‘I see this as a tribute to all former Northern Transvaal and Bulls players. Rugby is a team sport and, without my teammates, I would not have been able to achieve the success I did.’
Renaming the North Pavilion after Du Preez forms part of the upgrading of the pavilion which will also include a Bulls museum.