Nelie Smith

Cornelius Michael 'Nelie' Smith (8 May 1934 – 2 May 2016) was a South African rugby union player and coach.[1]

Nelie Smith
Birth nameCornelius Michael Smith
Date of birth8 May 1934
Place of birthBloemfontein, Free State
Date of death2 May 2016(2016-05-02) (aged 81)
Place of deathStrand, Western Cape
Height1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight77 kg (170 lb)
SchoolHoërskool Sentraal, Bloemfontein
UniversityUniversity of the Free State
Rugby union career
Position(s) Scrumhalf
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
Collegians (Bloemfontein) ()
Provincial / State sides
Years Team Apps (Points)
1956–1965 Free State 60 ()
1966 Griqualand West 4 ()
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1963–1965 South Africa 7 (12)
Teams coached
Years Team
Free State
1980–1981 South Africa
Eastern Province
Northern Free State
Ballymena R.F.C.

Playing careerEdit

Smith made his provincial debut at scrumhalf for Free State during the 1956 season and went on to play 60 matches for Free State, captaining them 37 times. He also played four matches for Griqualand West.[2]

He made his test debut for the Springboks during the Australian rugby tour of 1963 in the third test on 24 August 1963 at the Ellis Park in Johannesburg. South Africa lost the match 9–11, with Smith scoring all nine points. Smith scored twelve points in seven test matches for South Africa and captained the team in four tests.[3] He also played in twelve tour matches and scored a further nine points for the Springboks.[4]

Test historyEdit

No. Opponents Results
(SA 1st)
Position Points Dates Venue
1.   Australia 9–11 Scrumhalf 9 (3 pen) 24 Aug 1963 Ellis Park, Johannesburg
2.   Australia 22–6 Scrumhalf 7 Sep 1963 Boet Erasmus Stadium, Port Elizabeth
3.   Wales 24–3 Scrumhalf 3 (1 try) 23 May 1964 Kings Park, Durban
4.   France 6–8 Scrumhalf (c) 25 Jul 1964 PAM Brink Stadium, Springs
5.   Australia 11–18 Scrumhalf (c) 19 Jun 1965 Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
6.   Australia 8–12 Scrumhalf (c) 26 Jun 1965 Lang Park, Brisbane
7.   New Zealand 0–13 Scrumhalf (c) 21 Aug 1965 Carisbrook, Dunedin

Coaching careerEdit

Smith coached numerous teams, both in South Africa and internationally. His first big success as a coach was in 1976, when he and Sakkie van Zyl, coached the Free State to its first Currie Cup title. He was the Springboks coach in 1980 when the Springboks defeated Billy Beaumont's Lions and in 1981 he was the coach during the Springbok tour of New Zealand and the United States.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Nelie Smith". ESPN scrum. Retrieved 2020-05-17.
  2. ^ a b "SA Rugby mourns death of Nelie Smith". Sport. 2016-05-02. Retrieved 2020-05-17.
  3. ^ Jooste, Graham K. (1995). South African rugby test players 1949-1995. Johannesburg: Penguin. pp. 45–52. ISBN 0140250174. OCLC 36916860.
  4. ^ Colquhoun, Andy (1999). The South African Rugby Annual 1999. Cape Town: MWP Media Sport. p. 160. ISBN 0958423148.
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Abie Malan
Springbok Captain
Succeeded by
Dawie de Villiers
Preceded by
  Johan Claassen
South Africa National Rugby Union Coach
Succeeded by
  Cecil Moss