WP star Etzebeth shone at rugby and wrestling
CLIFFORD Etzebeth, a former Western Province rugby player and prominent pro-wrestler, died in a car crash on July 22. He was 69.
Etzebeth, the uncle of Springbok and Stormers lock forward Eben Etzebeth, was killed when his bakkie crashed into the Armco barriers on the N1 highway, causing it to roll off the highway near the R300 turn-off in Brackenfell.
He was born in Steenberg, grew up in a rugby-playing family and attended Epping High School.
Etzebeth played as a lock for Western Province during the 1970s and 1980s and was a prominent member of the Goodwood and Villager rugby teams.
He won the Durban Championships while playing for the Villager Football Club, which was a matter of pride for him.
Etzebeth also became wellknown for his bar-brawling antics with his brother Skattie.
His son, Clifford, said his father was always there for his family and had an active spirit. “He was always there for us and supported the children with our sport. He was like a shadow at my rugby games and my sisters’ netball. You could always pick the phone and he’d be there,” said Clifford.
He added: “He played sport from a young age. In those days it was either cricket or rugby for him, and wrestling was always on his mind.”
In 2012 Etzebeth competed in the veterans wrestling division at a tournament in Albania, where he won a world title at the age of 62.
“Wrestling was always on his mind and he would have loved to have gone to the Olympics, but in those years we were banned. Then at an older age he saw the opportunity and it all came full circle for him.”
Etzebeth enjoyed going on fishing trips and went on trips with his former rugby teams regularly.
The Villager Football Club said on its Twitter account: “It is with deep sadness that the Villager FC has to say goodbye to the legendary Cliffie Etzebeth who tragically passed away in a motor car accident… Our sincere and heartfelt condolences go the Etzebeth family. RIP Cliffie.”
There will be a funeral service at the AGS Church in Goodwood at 11am tomorrow.
Etzebeth leaves his wife, three daughters and his son, and his mother.