SA rugby mourns as former NWU captain passes

Former North-West University captain and Leopards loose forward Tiaan Bezuidenhout tragically died in a car accident this past Saturday.

The No 8 earned 10 Varsity Cup caps in 2018. He also represented the NWU 1st XV in the Pirates Grand Challenge and the Leopards in the Currie Cup First Division while studying towards a senior phase education degree.

As NWU’s first new captain in three years, Bezuidenhout led them all the way to the 2018 final before hanging up his boots at the end of the season.

Jonathan Mokuena, who was NWU’s coach at the time, remembers Bezuidenhout as a special player and person.

‘He was someone who I could count on to keep discipline in the team. When I announced him as our captain at the beginning of 2018, I still remember how he cried and how immensely proud he was to represent NWU and captain them.

‘Seeing his face then is something I will treasure forever. I knew then that I had made the right choice as a coach.’

Bezuidenhout’s former teammates have posted touching tributes to Bezuidenhout on social media, including Bulls lock Walt Steenkamp, who on Facebook paid homage to the best man at his wedding. 

Steenkamp wrote [in Afrikaans]: ‘Tiaan, so I now sit with tears in my eyes. I have no words, the shock is great for all of us. My best friend from primary school was taken away from us too early.

‘You were there for every big moment in my life. Know that I carry all our times together in my heart. From school days, Pukke, every time we ran out on the field together, Soeties [Soetdorings hostel] initiation to both of our weddings. I love you, my friend! I’m going to miss you so much! You will always be my “best man”. Rest in peace.’

Varsity Cup extended its deepest condolences to Bezuidenhout’s family and the larger NWU community.