The Straits Times
Published on Feb 01, 2013

Rugby: Former South Africa rugby boss who battled Mandela dies


JOHANNESBURG (REUTERS) - Louis Luyt, the powerful former head of South African rugby who took Nelson Mandela to court, has died aged 80, his former rugby union announced on Friday.

A fertiliser tycoon, Luyt was at the helm of South Africa rugby when it returned from isolation in the early 1990s and stood alongside Mandela on the podium when South Africa won the 1995 World Cup in Johannesburg.

But he clashed with the South African president three years later over a government-ordered enquiry into allegations of lingering racism in rugby and took Mandela to court to back his refusal to appear.

The Golden Lions Rugby Union, known as Transvaal when Luyt was president, said in a statement on Friday Luyt was able to play a critical role in the re-entry of the Springboks to international competition, following more than a decade of isolation.