Rob Louw was one of rugby’s last truly glamorous players.
He was cast in the Tommy Bedford image of loose forwards in a game that was very different to what we see today, especially at international level.
He could run all day – at least that’s what his opponents used to think – and yet he could make the bone-crunching tackles too. So he was something of a hard man in rugby in the 1980s, in an era when a number six flanker used to be the one who burrowed in the nether world of rucks and mauls.
He moved into Springbok contention at the end of the career of Jan Boland Coetzee, who was a burrower supreme. But Louw brought a cavalier attitude to the game which fitted a Springbok pattern of play which emerged under his first captain, Morne du Plessis.
And two of his five test tries were scored under Du Plessis in 1980 against the Lions – both wonderful examples of his incredible ability to link with backline players on the counter.
Test rugby in those days was a far more exclusive club than it is today, and Louw played 19 matches for his country between 1980 and 1984.
But he is widely regarded as one of the Springbok greats.