John Gainsford passed away on Wednesday after a long battle with cancer.
Gainsford established himself as one of the greatest centres of his generation with his powerful bursts and rock-solid defence. He earned 33 Test caps and scored eight tries during his Springbok career between 1960 and 1967, playing in 71 Springbok matches in total (including tour matches).
He remained the most-capped Springbok centre until as recently as 2001 when his record was finally overtaken by Japie Mulder. One of his most notable achievements was the two tries he scored during the 1962 British Lions tour, which contributed to the Springboks’ series victory.
'I would like to extend my sincere condolences to the Gainsford family for their loss,' Saru president Oregan Hoskins said. 'John was a superstar of his generation and he will go down in history as one of the greatest Springboks to have played the sport. He believed that rugby was played to be won, and he demonstrated this on the field with his line breaks, raw pace and power. I met him on many occasions. He was a great man.'
Gainsford, who passed away at the age of 77, is survived by his wife Shona, children Murray, Lindsay, Kirk and Shona-Leigh, and 11 grandchildren.