Tinus Linee passed away on Monday morning after losing his battle with motor neuron disease.
Linee was diagnosed with MND in April last year and his deteriorating health resulted in him having financial difficulties. He auctioned off his Springbok and Western Province blazers in an attempt to cover his medical costs, while the WPRFU also helped him to raise funds.
Linee played nine midweek matches for the Boks on their 1993 and 1994 end-of-year tours, scoring two tries.
He represented Western Province from 1992 to 2001 and the Stormers in 1996 and 1999.
The news of Linee’s death was broken by fellow MND sufferer Joost van der Westhuizen, who tweeted: ‘Sad day for Rugby in SA. Just received news of the passing of a rugby legend and MND Warrior Tinus Linee RIP my friend.’
The former Springbok scrumhalf was diagnosed with MND in May 2011.
Linee made his debut for Western Province in 1992 and played 112 games for the province until his retirement in 2001. Renowned as a hard-hitting centre he was a regular starter in the centres for Western Province. In 2001, current Springbok captain Jean de Villiers made his Western Province debut alongside Tinus Linee. On 14 October 1995 Linee played in his first Currie Cup final, against the Natal Sharks at Kings Park Stadium in Durban. Linee played alongside Springbok and Western Province legends such as Pieter Rossouw, Chester Williams, Justin Swart, Joel Stransky and Tiaan Strauss as well as French legend Laurent Cabannes. The Sharks won the game 25-17. Linee was also part of the Western Province squad when they won Currie Cup titles in 1997, 2000 and 2001.
In 1996 Tinus Linee was part of the Western Province team that competed in the Super 12. Western Province failed to qualify for the 1997 Super 12 season and Linee was not part of the squad when the Stormers played in the 1998 Super 12 season. In 1999, he returned to the Cape Town based Super Rugby team’s squad, but failed to make the Stormers’ Super Rugby squads in 2000 and 2001.
In 1993 Linee was picked for the Springboks on their tour to Australia. He made his debut for the Springboks in a tour match against Victoria in Melbourne on 21 July 1993. At the time, Heinrich Füls and Pieter Muller were the preferred centres for the test matches, so Linee only played in tour games and failed to make the team for the test matches.
In 1994 Linee again made the Springbok squad for both the Argentinean tour to South Africa as well as the Springbok tour to Wales, Scotland and Ireland. He again did not feature in any of the test matches and on 22 November 1994, he played his last tour match for the Springboks against Pontypridd in Pontypridd, Wales.
Linee was part of the South Africa A squad that traveled to the UK in 1996.