Saddened Zim rugby family wish Delport well

HARARE - The Zimbabwe rugby community has united in support of Sables legend Danny Delport after the former star wing’s family revealed he is terminally ill and battling for his life.

The 62-year-old, who now lives in Australia, was diagnosed with the deadly Motor Neuron Disease (MND) late last year.

Delport is one of the most capped players in Zimbabwean rugby history, playing for Rhodesia (and then Zimbabwe) between 1976 and 1984.

He played for both Rhodesia and Natal in the Currie Cup, and is described by author and rugby writer Jonty Winch as “one of the most exciting and unpredictable wings in Currie Cup history.”

MND attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, and causes progressive weakness and increasing disability, muscle wasting and, eventually, death. The disease received global publicity last year when the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge went viral on social media.

Delport has drawn an outpouring of support at home and abroad.

“I was good friends with his son Benjamin at primary school,” said veteran Zimbabwe lock Jan Ferreira yesterday.

“Danny was a very friendly man and he had a heart of gold. He was fast as I recall him running in the fathers’ relay team at primary school. My dad always spoke very highly of him.”

Tariro Roy Tichareva wrote on Facebook: “My prayers are with him!”

Harry Roberts added on the thread: “Prayers with the family, what a true legend.”

John Bishop, writing for The Witness in South Africa, said:

“Delport’s rugby career in Natal was short and sweet but he made an indelible impression. He started at scrumhalf in the Maritzburg Varsity U20B team in 1971 and was then rushed into the first team in 1972 and played on the wing. Just a season later he made his provincial debut and had three years (1973-75) in the Natal team. He returned to the family farm in Rhodesia in 1976 and played for the national team until 1983.

“An exciting, wholehearted player, he possessed exceptional pace. He also had long flowing locks which proved popular with crowds, particularly the more conservative ones at Loftus and on the platteland where spectators made fun of his hairstyle but applauded his committed, brave running and tackling.”

Delport left Zimbabwe in 2000 after his farm in Ruwa was seized during the land redistribution exercise, and briefly settled in Cape Town before moving to Perth, Australia, with his family.

Comments (1)

Hi Danny, saddened to hear of your plight. I also live in Perth these days and ask that you drop me a line please.

Wil Cameron-Dow - 25 January 2016

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