Blasts from the past: Terrible day in 1980 as Burger dies
Today in SA sports history: August 31
1980 — Chris Burger dies about 12 hours after suffering a broken neck in a Currie Cup match between Western Province and Free State in Bloemfontein. Burger, a utility player, was at fullback for WP on the day. He had been caught in possession deep inside his own half and a maul formed. Burger is believed to have suffered the fatal injury when two Free State players charged in and collapsed the maul. After all the players got up, Burger continued to lie there, motionless but conscious. Just before the start of the match both teams had stood for a minute’s silence to honour Free State prop Rampie Stander, who had collapsed and died after a training session just three days earlier. Free State won the encounter 7-6.
1996 — The Springboks score a consolation win as they beat New Zealand 32-22 at Ellis Park in the final Test after three straight defeats on home soil. The first of those matches was under the Tri Nations banner and not considered part of the tour, but the other two were enough to give New Zealand their only series triumph in SA to date.
2003 — Hestrie Cloete gives SA a double high-jump gold at the world championships in Paris as she dominates her event to win by 6cm. Cloete, the defending champion from 2001, sailed to victory in a 2.06m SA record, adding to the men’s high-jump gold Jacques Freitag had won a few days earlier. On the same day, Mbulaeni Mulaudzi took the 800m bronze behind Djabir Said-Guerni of Algeria and Russia’s Yuriy Borzakovskiy, who would beat the South African again at the Olympics the next year.
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