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Outspoken SA rugby boss Luyt dies, aged 80

Published: 10:36AM Saturday February 02, 2013 Source: ONE Sport

Louis Luyt - the former South African rugby boss, who prompted an All Blacks walkout at the 1995 Rugby World Cup - has died of unknown causes in a Durban hospital, aged 80.

After the Springboks' extra-time win over New Zealand in the tournament final at Johannesburg, Luyt, the South African Rugby Union president, rubbed salt into the wounds with a claim that had his country been invited to compete, it would have taken out the previous two titles as well, including the crown won by the All Blacks in 1987. The Boks were serving an international ban for their government's apartheid policies during those tournaments.

The speech was labelled "boorish" by Kiwi media and resulted in the NZ team, which had claimed food poisoning before the game, exiting the dinner indignant.

Luyt caused a further clearing of the room later at the same function, when he tried to present Welsh referee Derek Bevan with a gold watch for his performance in the World Cup semi-final, where he had disallowed an apparent French try that could have deprived the Springboks a spot in the final.

Bevan led another walkout, refusing to accept the gift.

The outspoken Luyt made his fortune as the founder of Triomf Fertiliser and Luyt Breweries, and took control of Ellis Park, the venue of that contentious World Cup final.

During the mid-70s - the height of the apartheid area - he founded English-language newspaper The Citizen, apparently funded by the apartheid regime. But he was distrusted by Afrikaner elite, because he had apparently achieved his success without ever joining the notorious Broederbond.

He was forced to resign his post with the rugby union after allegations of corruption and racism, and eventually took president Nelson Mandela to the High Court, where he successfully defending himself. On appeal, a Constitutional Court later found against him and for Mandela.

Luyt subsequently formed the Federal Alliance political party and served in the South African parliament.