Salie Fredericks was one of the greatest rugby players in South African history. Photo: SA Rugby

President Jacob Zuma says “the country has lost one of its best ever rugby players” in describing the late former Saru captain Salie Fredericks.

The former Western Province lock passed away on Thursday at the age of 74, and his funeral took place on Friday morning where former teammates, family and the rugby community at large gathered at the Mowbray Muslim Cemetery to bid farewell.

SA Rugby deputy president Francois Davids was in attendance along with a host of other rugby stalwarts such as Cassiem Jabaar, Fagmie Solomons, Faiek Hendricks and Aslam Toefy.

Fredericks is regarded as one of the greatest rugby players in the history of South Africa, and he played for the Green Point-based WP in the non-racial Saru fold.

President Zuma paid tribute to Fredericks on Friday. “The country has lost one of its best ever rugby players who made an indelible contribution to rugby and fought for non-racialism in sport.

“He was a remarkable player who selflessly chose to make a difference in South Africa’s sporting code, especially in teaching black youngsters. We wish to convey our condolences to the Fredericks family and the sports fraternity at large. May his soul rest in peace.”

Fredericks played in the 1960s and 1970s, earning over 200 caps for WP and nine for the Saru national team between 1963 and 1974.

His last match for the Saru outfit was against an Invitation XV at the Athlone Stadium in September 1974.

Many former teammates and rugby officials took to Facebook to fondly remember Fredericks – whom they called ‘Lippe’ during his playing days.

IOL Sport