Hall of Fame Inductee - Daniel Craven

Discussion in 'The Clubhouse Bar' started by Rugby News, Aug 24, 2008.

  1. Rugby News

    Rugby News Member

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    Full names: Daniel Hartman Craven
    Date of birth: 11 October 1910
    Died: 4 January 1993

    Born in Lindley, in the Orange Free State, Craven went on to represent Lindley High in rugby union. After completing his schooling, he moved onto the famous rugby conveyor belt, the University of Stellenbosch, where his influence was immediately felt. He represented the Maties First XV, from where he became a provincial player for Western Province, and was later capped for the Boks. After his playing career was prematurely ended by the start of World War II in 1939, he moved back to Stellenbosch where he studied, lectured, coached and later achieved his doctorate. It was under his influence that Stellenbosch became the most famous nursery of Boks in the history of SA rugby, and his legacy is still felt today, with the home union`s stadium aptly named after him, the Danie Craven stadium.

    First capped as a 21-year-old on the Bok grand slam tour of 1931 as a scrumhalf vs. Wales in Swansea on 5 Dec 1931, he would go on to represent SA in 16 tests up to 1938, winning 12 and representing SA at scrumhalf, flyhalf, inside centre and no8.

    His greatest moment as a player was undoubtedly 1937 tour to Australasia, where he played both tests vs. Australia, winning both by margins of 9-5 and 26-17 respectively. Thereafter, the squad crossed the Tasman sea to take on New Zealand in their own back yard- and the Boks became the first side in history to defeat the All Blacks in NZ, winning the 3-match series 2-1. Many people still consider the 1937 Boks as the finest side ever to tour NZ.

    During this series, Craven became famous for 2 pioneering inventions- firstly the scrumhalf dive-pass, which is still around today, and the 3-4-1 scrum formation, also still widely used to this day.He was considered by his peers to be the most complete and innovative player of his generation. Thereafter followed a 2-1 home series victory against the British Lions in 1938, before WWII intervened.

    Craven became Bok coach in 1949, famously coaching his side to a 4-0 whitewash against NZ on home turf, and the Boks remained unbeaten for 10 tests in a row, up to 1952- a world record at the time. In all, he coached the Boks in 23 tests, winning 17 between 1949 and 1956.

    In 1957, he was elected as SARB president, a position he held until his death in 1993. During this time, he was also an influential member of the IRB, and was chairman on several occasions. It was also Craven`s vote in 1985 which helped to swing the IRB around to the concept of the Rugby World Cup, even though SA were excluded from competing at the time for political reasons. Under Craven`s presidency, the first-ever black Springboks, Errol Tobias and Avril Williams, were selected in the mid-1980`s, at the height of the previous government`s policies and under extreme pressure not to do so.

    The annual u/19 inter-provincial rugby tournament in SA is named in his honour, and he has rightly earned a lasting name in the annals of Bok rugby folklore.

    Article by BokMagic

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