WP star Etze­beth shone at rugby and wrestling

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - SUNDAY LEISURE - LUKE FOLB

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.

Clifford Etze­beth

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