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Tributes paid to former Springbok Pedrie Wannenburg following death in car crash

Former Springbok Pedrie Wannenburg in action for the Barbarians (David Davies/PA)
Former Springbok Pedrie Wannenburg in action for the Barbarians (David Davies/PA)

Tributes have been paid to former South Africa forward Pedrie Wannenburg following his death in a car crash in Texas.

The 41-year-old former Bulls and Ulster back-rower, who was capped 20 times by the Springboks, died in a collision in Houston on Friday evening local time, South Africa Rugby has confirmed.

President Mark Alexander told SA Rugby’s official website: “Pedrie will be remembered as one of the first real versatile loose forwards who could play in any position in the back row and even though he played in only 20 Tests, his record in the colours of the Bulls, during a period where they dominated on all levels, is nearly unmatched.

South Africa’s Pedrie Wannenburg (left) tackles England's Richard Hill
South Africa’s Pedrie Wannenburg (left) tackles England’s Richard Hill (Tom Hevezi/PA)

“After he finished his career in South Africa, he went on to make a big impact playing club rugby in Ireland, France and later the USA, and he started giving back to the game in a coaching capacity after he retired a few years ago.

“Pedrie was a fun-loving and hard-working man and someone who gave all he had on the pitch, but afterwards always had a smile on his face.

“He represented his country with aplomb – who will ever forget the try he scored in the narrow victory over the All Blacks in Rustenburg in 2006?

“To lose someone at the cusp of the rest of his life with a young family, after a long and storied rugby career, is extremely sad and our thoughts are with his wife, Evette, their two children, Isabelle and Francois, as well as his parents and other family members, loved ones and friends during this very difficult time.”

Wannenburg, who made his Test debut as a 21-year-old, was a mainstay of the Bulls team which won Super Rugby in 2007, 2009 and 2010 and lifted the Currie Cup from 2002 to 2004, 2006 (shared) and 2009.

He moved to Ulster in 2010 and helped the province reach the 2012 Heineken Cup final before heading for France to play for Castres and Oyonnax, then the USA, where he represented Denver and Austin.

A statement on Ulster’s official Twitter account said: “Ulster Rugby is deeply saddened to learn of the sudden passing of former flanker, Pedrie Wannenburg following a car crash in Texas.

“The Springbok played a major role in Ulster’s Heineken Cup and Pro12 campaigns, making 54 appearances for the Ulster men between 2010 and 2012.”