Danie Gerber

Danie Gerber (born 14 April 1958 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa) is a former South African rugby union player, who played for South Africa between 1980 and 1992. He played mainly at inside or outside centre, but also on the wing.

Danie Gerber
Birth nameDaniel Mattheus Gerber
Date of birth (1958-04-14) 14 April 1958 (age 62)
Place of birthPort Elizabeth, South Africa
Height1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Weight91 kg (201 lb)
Rugby union career
Position(s) Centre
Provincial / State sides
Years Team Apps (Points)
Eastern Province
Western Province
Free State
Correct as of 2007-10-31
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1980–1992 South Africa 24 (82)
Correct as of 2007-10-31

His international career was severely limited because of South Africa's sporting isolation caused by apartheid.[1] He won only 24 caps for South Africa (scoring 19 tries[2]), despite playing internationally for 12 years. However despite this, in 2007 he was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame.[3]

Early lifeEdit

Gerber initially played football and cricket at school level, but accelerated quickly when starting rugby, playing for SA schools.[4]

Rugby careerEdit

In South African domestic rugby Gerber played 115 games for Eastern Province, 40 for Western Province and 24 for Orange Free State.

Gerber's international career of games played and Points scored:

  • In 1980 he played two tests against the South American Jaguars (a team mainly made up of Argentine players but also included a few Uruguayan, Chilean, Paraguayan and Brazilian players) in Montevideo and Santiago.[5] He scored a try in each test. He also played one test against France in Pretoria without scoring any points, and one other test that year.
  • In 1981 he played two tests against Ireland in Cape Town (scoring two tries) and in Durban without scoring points. He also went on the 1981 Springbok Tour of New Zealand, playing in all three tests, (Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland) without scoring any points. The infamous tour was lost by the Springboks due to a controversial penalty by the referee four minutes into injury time in the final test. (Ray Mordt scored three tries in the final test of the series.) He also played the final test of 1981 against the USA in Glenville, without scoring any points.
  • In 1982 he played two tests against the South American Jaguars (again, mainly made up of Argentine players but also included a few Uruguayan, Chilean, Paraguayan and Brazilian players) scoring three tries in Pretoria and one in Bloemfontein.
  • In 1984 he played two tests against England, scoring one try in his hometown, Port Elizabeth and three in Johannesburg. In this series Gerber played outside South Africa's first ever Black player, Errol Tobias,[6] in the series, and scored three tries in the second Test.[7] Again the South American Jaguars toured South Africa and Gerber scored one try and one conversion in Pretoria and one try in Cape Town.
  • In 1986 the New Zealand Cavaliers (a rebel tour conducted against the wishes of the NZ Rugby Union) toured South Africa, Gerber played in all four 'test' fixtures in Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria and Johannesburg and only managed one try in the Pretoria game.
  • In 1992, after a long period of South African rugby isolation, Gerber played his final five test matches vs: New Zealand in Johannesburg scoring two tries, Australia in Cape Town without scoring any points, France in Lyon and Parc des Princes scoring one try in each match. His final test was against England on Twickenham which went without scoring any points.

Test historyEdit

No. Opposition Result (SA 1st) Position Points Date Venue
1.   South American Jaguars 22–13 Centre 4 (1 try) 18 October 1980 Wanderers Club, Montevideo
2.   South American Jaguars 30–16 Centre 4 (1 try) 25 October 1980 Prince of Wales Cricket Club, Santiago
3.   France 37–15 Centre 8 November 1980 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
4.   Ireland 23–15 Centre 8 (2 tries) 30 May 1981 Newlands, Cape Town
5.   Ireland 12–10 Centre 6 June 1981 Kings Park, Durban
6.   New Zealand 9–14 Centre 15 August 1981 Lancaster Park, Christchurch
7.   New Zealand 24–12 Centre 29 August 1981 Athletic Park, Wellington
8.   New Zealand 22–25 Centre 12 September 1981 Eden Park, Auckland
9.   United States 38–7 Centre 20 September 1981 Owl Creek Polo ground, Glenville, New York
10.   South American Jaguars 50–18 Centre 12 (3 tries) 27 March 1982 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
11.   South American Jaguars 12–21 Centre 4 (1 try) 3 April 1982 Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
12.   England 33 - 15 Centre 4 (1 try) 2 June 1984 Boet Erasmus Stadium, Port Elizabeth
13.   England 35 - 9 Centre 12 (3 tries) 9 June 1984 Ellis Park, Johannesburg
14.   South American Jaguars 32–15 Centre 6 (1 try, 1 conv.) 20 October 1984 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
15.   South American Jaguars 21–13 Centre 4 (1 try) 27 October 1984 Newlands, Cape Town
16. New Zealand Cavaliers 21–15 Centre 10 May 1986 Newlands, Cape Town
17. New Zealand Cavaliers 18–19 Centre 17 May 1986 Kings Park, Durban
18. New Zealand Cavaliers 33–18 Centre 4 (1 try) 24 May 1986 Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
19. New Zealand Cavaliers 24–10 Centre 31 May 1986 Ellis Park, Johannesburg
20.   New Zealand 24–27 Centre 10 (2 tries) 15 August 1992 Ellis Park, Johannesburg
21.   Australia 3–26 Centre 22 August 1992 Newlands, Cape Town
22.   France 20–15 Centre 5 (1 try) 17 October 1992 Stade de Gerland, Lyon
23.   France 16–29 Centre 5 (1 try) 24 October 1992 Parc des Princes, Paris
24.   England 16–33 Centre 14 November 1992 Twickenham, London

Gerber scored 19 tries in 24 internationals,[8] a very high strike rate for a centre.

Style of playEdit

Gerber had very high acceleration and pace, could sidestep off either foot, break tackles,[9] had a clear vision of space on the field, and high ball skill levels (catching, passing and kicking). He was also very solid in defence.[10]

Gerber attributed his sidestep to his early football. He trained extensively (particularly running, but also swimming, circuit training and weights) and had a high fitness level, which were unusual attributes before rugby went professional.[11][12]


Gerber has been described as one of the greatest ever rugby centres.[13][14] He has been named South Africa's greatest ever centre,[15][16] and Naas Botha has said he is one of the greatest ever South African rugby players.[17] Martin Johnson named him in his International Rugby Hall of Fame member's XV, and Bill McLaren's named him in his 'all time' XV.[18][19][20]

Personal lifeEdit

Gerber is married to Elsabe.

In 2002 he had heart surgery, and his family have a pattern of high cholesterol.[21]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Knowler, Richard (16 April 2005). "GERBER LAMENTS POACHING AND POLITICS". The Press. p. 2.
  2. ^ https://www.rugbyworld.com/rugby-positions/centres/danie-gerber-65393
  3. ^ "Daniel Gerber". rugbyhalloffame.com. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 31 October 2007.
  4. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZGcJbodgQQ
  5. ^ "Danie Gerber". scrum.com. Retrieved 31 October 2007.
  6. ^ Struthers, Greg (3 June 2007). "Caught in time". London: timesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 31 October 2007.
  7. ^ Hewett, Chris (27 May 2007). "England the sick men of Africa". The Independent. Retrieved 31 October 2007.[dead link]
  8. ^ https://www.rugbyworld.com/rugby-positions/centres/danie-gerber-65393
  9. ^ http://en.espn.co.uk/southafrica/rugby/player/9270.html
  10. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZGcJbodgQQ
  11. ^ https://www.ruck.co.uk/rugby-top-10-greatest-centres-time-odriscoll-sella-fight-top-spot/
  12. ^ http://en.espn.co.uk/southafrica/rugby/player/9270.html
  13. ^ https://www.rugbyworld.com/rugby-positions/centres/danie-gerber-65393
  14. ^ http://www.rugbyforum.co.za/english-articles/danie_gerber.html
  15. ^ https://www.ruck.co.uk/rugby-top-10-greatest-centres-time-odriscoll-sella-fight-top-spot/
  16. ^ https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2144655-selecting-the-greatest-all-time-south-africa-xv#slide2
  17. ^ https://www.ruck.co.uk/rugby-top-10-greatest-centres-time-odriscoll-sella-fight-top-spot/
  18. ^ XV refers to the fifteen players on a rugby team.
  19. ^ "Martin Johnson's all-time XV". London: timesonline.co.uk. 2 August 2007. Retrieved 31 October 2007.
  20. ^ "Bill McLaren's World XV". bbc.co.uk. 5 March 2002. Retrieved 31 October 2007.
  21. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZGcJbodgQQ