The more I think about it, the more I believe that it is one of Springbok rugby’s greatest injustices that a man and player of this calibre had to wait so long to reach such an important milestone in his rugby career.
Perhaps it is not so much an injustice but simply one of those inexplicable occurrences that comes once in a lifetime, like Haley’s comet or the Soccer World Cup in Africa.
There is nothing fancy about this guy, what you see is what you get. And in an age where professionalism in rugby has created so many prima donnas and players with ego’s as large as their over-inflated and sometimes undeserved salaries, one can truly say that he is one of the few and only traditional hard-men left in the game today.
Never has he been involved in any controversy, never have I read anything about this guy outside of rugby and even getting anything on him in the form of interviews or quotes inside the game of rugby is a mission! I don’t know if he is married (he probably is) and I do not know if he has any kids even.
He does not come from ‘rugby stock’ where his father was a legendary Springbok and as far as I know none of his siblings are famous for anything either (does he even have any?).
When you are looking to define the phrase ‘Salt of the earth player’ his name is probably the first that should appear.
This man is simply only, and all about rugby.
His career started in 1999 where he made his professional debut for the same province he still plays for today. He made his Super rugby debut for them in 2001 and earned his very first Bok cap in 2003.
He is a veteran of two World Cups in which he holds one winners medal starting in the final in 2007 and pulling off arguably one of the most important try-saving tackles in Springbok history.
He has 4 Currie Cup winners medals, 3 Super rugby winners medals, 1 Tri-Nations winners medals, a World Cup medal and a series victory over the British and Irish Lions.
He is the ultimate impact player, the ultimate versatile player and the original PK.
He has lived in the shadows of one of the few living legends of Bok rugby, but never would you read about how he uttered one word of discontent about his own ambitions or favouritism and how he is continuously and unfairly overlooked both provincially and nationally.
He was simply always there to step up when needed, and the biggest compliment I can give him, and probably the reason for his relative anonymity in the rugby world too, is that when he was called on to step up, one hardly ever noticed a difference when the more fancied ‘first choice’ players broke down or fell out of favour.
He has been one of the greatest servants of Bulls and Springbok rugby. The consummate professional who never flinched or blinked an eye or ever frowned upon any job or position he was asked to step up into and perform.
He is the original Pakslae, and in a day and age where 50 test caps is nothing special anymore, I believe a special mention needs to go to Danie Rossouw who will represent his country for the 50th time this weekend in Wellington where he has again been asked to step up and fill the boots of the man under whose shadow he has played for just under a decade.
And once again, you can expect nothing but his ultimate commitment as he will run out for his country once again, dishing out a couple of PK’s along the way as the original Pakslae.
Take a bow Sir, you will always be remembered as a Springbok and rugby giant the likes we do not see anymore, or enough of.Tweet