A sad way to start the year as we say goodbye to Oom Johan Claassen who died at the age of 89.
He was not just a Springbok great but also led his country in the the Springbok jersey, coach and was an administrator in the game as well.
He was the manager in the famous 1981 New Zealand tour with the Sprinboks.
Oom Johan toured New Zealand in 1965 and played in the 1960 series for the Springboks.
His marker in 1960 Sir Colin Meads said in Behind The Silver Fern: “I marked Johan Claassen, he was one of the better players I played against. He wasn’t that mobile at that stage but you couldn’t put him off his game. A dour bugger, you couldn’t have too many beers with Johan.”
Oom Johan played 28 Test between 1955 and 1962, captaining the side nine times and coached them from 1968 to 1971.
He was the mastermind the win against the 1970 All Blacks which ended their unbeaten run of test victories since 1965.
Oom Johan also had a long stint as a Springbok selector and served on the South African Rugby Board for 20 years.
He played 105 times for his Western Transvaal representative team.