Blue Bulls Under 20 player Nico van Vuuren

Johannesburg - The Blue Bulls Rugby Union and rugby fans have expressed their grief after Blue Bulls Under 20 forward Nico van Vuuren died at the weekend.

Condolences poured in from rugby circles and on social networks on Sunday after Van Vuuren died in a car crash in Komatipoort early on Saturday.

Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) spokesman Ashref Ismail said: ”It seems that four guys robbed a butchery and hijacked a car, but soon lost control of the getaway vehicle and collided head-on with the Blue Bulls player.”

He said three of the four robbers had died in the accident and R150 000 and three firearms were retrieved.

“We are not sure if [Van Vuuren] was in his car alone, but it seems that way,” Ismail said.

The Blue Bulls official Facebook page lamented the player’s death: “Nico v Vuuren, Blue Bulls U20 prop and hooker, recruited from Hoërskool Nelspruit, sadly passed away on Sunday in Komatipoort.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his parents, brother, family and friends.”

The 20-year-old was part of the Blue Bulls’ squad in the under-21 competition earlier this year.

SA rugby posted on Twitter: “Condolences to family, friends of Vodacom Blue Bulls u21 hooker/prop Nico van Vuuren who died in car crash on weekend.”

Fellow Blue Bulls player Pieter Morton said in a message on Facebook:

“To my friend Nico van Vuuren, you taught me a lot in this life, from God to that ‘lekker’ song on your guitar. God has come to fetch you, may you rest in peace and may all your wishes in heaven come true.”

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Cape Argus