Former Springbok team manager Arthob Petersen has been fondly remembered following his untimely death from the effects of the COVID-19 virus.
Petersen served rugby in various capacities for four decades, most notably as Springbok manager under Carel du Plessis and Nick Mallett (1997 to 1999), with Jake White (2004 to 2006) and again in 2008 and 2009 with Peter de Villiers.
Hailing from Paarl in the Western Cape, Petersen was a stalwart of the old South African Rugby Union serving as coach and chairman of the Lower Paarl Rugby Club after beginning his administrative career as chairman of the South Cape Teachers’ Training College club. From 1978 he began a 10-year tenure as chairperson of the Paarl Rugby Union, which was affiliated to SARU.
He became vice-chairperson of the Boland Rugby Union in 1986 until the unification of the sport in 1992 when he was elected as a member of the executive committee of the South African Rugby Football Union, the forerunner to today’s SA Rugby.
He continued to be involved at provincial level, managing both the Boland senior side and Under-19s in the 1990s and taking his first national role as assistant manager to the Springbok team on their tour of the UK and Ireland in 1994.
Petersen subsequently managed the South African ‘A’ team on a similar tour of the UK and Ireland in 1996 and was elevated to manage the national team in 1997, serving through to the Rugby World Cup finals in 1999 when he was part of the bronze medal-winning management team.
He resumed the role for three years under Jake White in 2004 and again with Peter de Villiers for the 2008 end-of-year tour, initially in a caretaker capacity, which extended throughout 2009. He was serving as the vice-president of the Boland Rugby Union at the time.
‘Arthob had a long and distinguished career in the service of rugby in his beloved Boland and at the highest level,’ said SA Rugby president Mark Alexander.
‘He worked for the game through the Struggle era and was immediately taken into the highest circles at the time of unity and always brought a measured and calming influence.
‘His contribution to rugby was immense and he leaves a legacy of selfless service to the game that grew up in the amateur years and continued into the professional era with the same selfless service and dignity. His example was one that we would all to well to follow.
‘The condolences of SA Rugby go to his family and many friends at this very sad time.’
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