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Referee Wynand Mans has died

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Two men who became Springboks in the same year and retired to Onrus died within five days of each other. One was Gertjie Brynard, the other Wynand Mans, Brynard in Onrus, Mans in Hermanus.

By Paul Dobson, Moonsport

An ardent Old Boy of Paarl Gim, he played club rugby for Northerns in the Western Province, Paarl and Durbanville. He was a fast, elegant three-quarter with a big boot and played for Western Province from 1963, when he was 21, to 1967. Western Province won the Currie Cup in 1964 and 1966, the only two years in which it was in competition.

In 1965 he went on two Springbok tours, two unsuccessful tours, during which the Springboks suffered a losing streak of seven Tests in a row.

The first tour was to Ireland and Scotland when the Springboks, captained by Avril Malan, played five matches, drawing pone and losing four. Mans played at centre in four of the matches, including the two Tests. He scored a try in the first when the Springboks lost 9-6 to Ireland and kicked a conversion when they lost 8-5 to Scotland. Then he, along with Brynard, was in Dawie de Villiers's team that toured Australia, losing two tests in Australia and three of the four in New Zealand. Mans was chosen as a wing but of his 15 matches on the tour, he played centre three times. He did not play in any Tests.

After his playing days, Mans coached the Paarl Grand Challenge team and later joined the Western Province Referees' Society. He advanced quickly after joining and came onto a national panel in 1983 and became a Currie Cup referee in 1985, retiring in 1990. He is the last Springbok to become a Currie Cup referee.

In 1986, Mans was ranked No.3 in South Africa behind Free Burger and Fransie Muller. That year the New Zealand Cavaliers toured South Africa and Mans had his only experience of international refereeing at a time of little international contact for South Africa. He refereed the match between the Cavaliers and Transvaal. Transvaal won 24-19 and the Cavaliers were upset with Mans!

Mans did much work for Danie Craven in his attempt to develop mixed race rugby in South Africa and was very much a proponent of the two-referee system.

Wynand Jacobus Mans was born in Fraserburg on 21 February 1942. Sadly, he contracted motor neuron disease and was confined to a wheelchair. He and his wife moved to Hermanus where he died on 6 December 2018, survived by his wife Rina and their three daughters Narina, Leánne and Alida and their families.

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