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Forum Home > General Discussion > The famous photo of Jack van der Schyff's 1955 conversion attempt

Kimbo
Member
Posts: 219

Thanks for the photo gallery of the 1955 Lions you've just posted.

That photo of the last act of the 1st test is still about the best sports photo I've ever seen. A picture telling a thousand words, including the score board showing British Isles 23 Suid Africa 2_ with the attendant awaiting the result of the kick to record the final score. Tommy Gentles crouched on the ground from placing the ball (as you had to do with conversions in those days) looking up in hope at the trajectory, the position of the ball and van der Schyff's posture complete the plot climax.

Allegedly the photographer mistimed the photo, which he intended to take at the point of impact between van der Schyff's boot and the ball.

Lucky mistake

Is "Quinn's Breads" still in business in South Africa? About the all-time best piece of product placement/advertising if they are!

July 20, 2013 at 8:52 PM Flag Quote & Reply

McLook
Site Owner
Posts: 134

July 20, 2013 at 11:15 PM Flag Quote & Reply

McLook
Site Owner
Posts: 134

Yes what a classic picture. It was the end off van der Schyff's international career. He complained years later that the ball was flat upon which my dad -when reading it- mumbled 'So why didn't you ask for another ball?'

I first saw this picture at the age of 12 when the 1974 Lions toured through SA. It left a lasting impression and became a symbol (for me at least but probably for the entire rugby playing fraternity in SA) of the unforgiving nature of test match rugby. One mistake and it's all over; no wonder the Springboks play such careful rugby (fearful to be too adventurous and make mistakes; rather kick and force errors).

July 20, 2013 at 11:22 PM Flag Quote & Reply

McLook
Site Owner
Posts: 134

Jack van der Schyff by Doc Craven

Jack van der Schyff was undoubtedly badly treated by the selectors. He first came to my attention in Kimberley where I commanded a physical training battalion during the war.

I had seen him playing for Kimberley Boys High against C.B.C. and other schools in the area and I saw him land kick after kick from the halfway line and further out.

One day he walked into my office wanting to join the battalion. I told him: "Jack, you can play for any first league team in Kimberley but I have on my staff a man named Ronnie Ackerman who has played for England. You will not be able to take his place in our first team."

He said he didn't mind; he was quite prepared to play in the second team, so that he could learn; a most wonderful attitude for a youngster. So he played for us and ultimately for Griquas when Ronnie Ackerman retired, and I knew that here was Springbok material.

He played for South Africa eventually and in the fateful first test against the 1955 Lions he missed that vital kick for which he is so unfairly remembered. Had he put over the conversion we would have won; he missed it and we lost 23-22.

That kick ruined him. Not only because he missed it, but because of the unfair criticism levelled at him then, and for years afterwards. It broke him as a player.

He was on the verge of being selected for the 1956 tour to New Zealand when someone had the bright idea that provision had to be made for Basie Viviers as captain, and Jack was left out. We were to miss him because with his prodigious kicking we might well have been able to win the series, even though the dice were loaded against us.

But for that single missed kick, he could well have been one of our most prolific points-scorers ever.

July 22, 2013 at 1:51 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Kimbo
Member
Posts: 219

Two other facts I've read about about Jack van der Schyff: -

He made a living shooting crocodiles on the Zambesi River.

He was part-black, sufficient enough that rugby officials (and obviously the South African government when it introduced the Group Areas Act and other assorted apartheid legislation from 1948 onwards) looked the other way...

July 22, 2013 at 3:07 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Flourbomber
Member
Posts: 104

Kimbo at July 22, 2013 at 3:07 AM

Two other facts I've read about about Jack van der Schyff: -

He made a living shooting crocodiles on the Zambesi River.

He was part-black, sufficient enough that rugby officials (and obviously the South African government when it introduced the Group Areas Act and other assorted apartheid legislation from 1948 onwards) looked the other way...

The fact that he had so called Bantu heritage but could still play for the Springobks in the 50's tells you all you need to know about the absurdity and pointlessness of apartheid. It was a ridiculous and inhumane farce masquerading as social policy.

August 15, 2013 at 4:44 AM Flag Quote & Reply

McLook
Site Owner
Posts: 134

The article below was published about Jack van dder Schyff in 2001

Bok Van der Schyff buried today

December 6 2001 at 09:50am

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Jack van der Schyff, the big, running fullback who played his provincial rugby for Griquas, Western Transvaal and Rhodesia, will be buried on Thursday.

Van der Schyff, who died at the weekend, had a bypass operation several years ago and his health remained poor.

His worst moment in rugby was captured in a photograph from in front of the posts showing the kicker in the foreground turning away, his head bowed in disappointment. The ball in the famous photograph is passing to the left of the uprights.

As a result of the missed conversion the British Lions won the 1955 Ellis Park test by one point, 23-22, and the kicker, Jack van der Schyff, after this match never wore the green-and-gold jersey again.

Van der Schyff played all four tests against the 1949 All Blacks in South Africa but soon after that he was involved in a mine accident and headed north, spending time in Kitwe in Northern Rhodesia, on what was to become the Zambian Copper Belt.

There he indulged his passion for hunting big game, including crocodiles and elephant.

According to his good friend Daan du Toit who employed him in later life, Van der Schyff met Joan whom he later married while working in Zambia.

In 1954 the two returned to South Africa to get married and in 1955 Van der Schyff was chosen out of the blue to face Robin Thompson's Lions in the first of four tests.

The Ellis Park test aroused phenomenal interest, sales on the black market flourished and a crowd of between 90 000 and 100 000 watched the match.

"I remember him telling me that just before he took that kick he was involved in a terrific tackle," says Du Toit. "One guy got him round the shoulders and another player around the ankles and he was dizzy.

"He told Stephen Fry, the Springbok captain, that he didn't want to take the kick, but Fry said: 'No, you must kick'. He took the kick and we all know what happened after that."

According to Tommy Gentles, the scrumhalf who kept the ball steady before Van der Schyff attempted that fateful conversion, he remembers no such incident, although he didn't say that it never happened. "I just remember that match as a marvellous game of rugby," said Gentles.

"Jack always used to say that I held the ball skew and I used to tell him that it was his kicking that was at fault!"

Despite being shunned by the national selectors after that, Van der Schyff continued playing provincial and club rugby. "I played with him in his last game of club rugby, for the Old Waterpan club in Randfontein," says Du Toit.

"We were in the second team together. I was just a donkey in the front row, but old Jack was a fine player. Earlier in his career they wanted to play him on the flank. He would clap his hands for the ball sometimes when his team was putting the ball into the scrum. The scrumhalf would pass straight to him at fullback and he would drop it over the posts."

After his international rugby career Van der Schyff worked as a shift-boss on the Deelkraal mine in Carletonville. Later Du Toit employed him as a driver.

April 10, 2014 at 5:43 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Hans
Member
Posts: 3

Jack van der Schyff se verhaal het my besonder gafasineer en om 'n spesifieke rede. Ek het meer as een "has been" sportman sy lewe  op 'n goudmyn sien sluit ver van die roem van weleer. Goudmyne het werk verskaf aan baie mense, maar dit was meer 'n geval van 'n troosprys en anti - klimaks vir 'n eens suksesvolle en bekende persoon.

So was daar Jackie Snyman (boetie van Dawie Snyman) wat maar in 'n paar toetse gespeel het en ook het ek Willie Ludick sy lewe sien sluit in 'n eenvoudige mynhuisie op Elandsrand Goudmyn naby Carletonville.

Dan was daar ook Jack Van der Schyff wie se hartseer ek kon aanvoel die dag toe die groot ou man met sy hand op my skouer gestaan en leun het in die klein hysbakkie waarin ons die skag bestyg het. My pa was meester sinker op die einste myn en wanneer dit tyd was vir baklei vir 'n plek in die kleine "Mary Anne" hysbak, het pa sy seun sommer aan die kraag gegryp en die hysbak ingehelp. Min mense het teegepraat met die meester sinker in daardie dae van hoë-tempo skagsink op Anglo American se vlagskip. Na die stamp en stoot verby is, word almal kalm en die hysbak begin boontoe beweeg.

Almal lê maar halfpad opmekaar en is soos sardientjies in die hysbak gelaai. Agter my staan 'n groot ou man met een van daai dik myn leerbaadjies aan. Hy praat baie en hard en skerts met ander soos dit maar in die myne gaan. Ek hoor hulle noem hom ou Jack. Hy leen met sy hand swaar op my skouer en ek voel 'n snaakse hartseer aan wat uit hom straal. So asof daar diep in hom 'n groot seer lê.

So in die uitklim vertel iemand my dat dit Jack Van Der Schyff is  - die man wat misgeskop het. Die misskop -  episode het plaasgevind in my ouers se troujaar in 1956 en dit was dus voor my geboorte en ek het daarvan geen kennis gedra nie. Die voorval het my egter aangegryp en ek het begin navors. Eendag het ek by vriende gekuier en daar was een van die ambagsmanne genaamd Richard ook teenwoordig.

Hy was 'n groot donkerkop man. Toe ek sy van hoor vra ek - "is jy nie familie van die man wat misgeskop het nie"? Hy antwoord toe dat Jack sy pa was en vertel my die omstandighede rondom die hele stukkie geskiedenis. Daarna het ek altyd 'n sagte plekkie vir oom Jack gehad!!

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January 6, 2015 at 7:47 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Hans
Member
Posts: 3

Ek moet die plasing bo myne korrigeer: Jack het op die Elandsrand Goudmyn gewerk en nie op Deelkraal nie. Die twee myne was wel buurmyne. Hy het moontlik op beide myne gewerk, maar hy het beslis op Elandsrand gewerk.

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January 6, 2015 at 7:52 AM Flag Quote & Reply

McLook
Site Owner
Posts: 134

Hans at January 6, 2015 at 7:52 AM

Ek moet die plasing bo myne korrigeer: Jack het op die Elandsrand Goudmyn gewerk en nie op Deelkraal nie. Die twee myne was wel buurmyne. Hy het moontlik op beide myne gewerk, maar hy het beslis op Elandsrand gewerk.

Hi Hans baie dankie vir daai stukkie inligting. Baie interessant. Wat was Jackie Snyman se omstandighede? Was hy betrrokke by rugby afrigting? Wat se tipe werk het hy op die myn gedoen? Ek het iewers gelees hy het gestudeer op Stellenbosch (voor hy of Dawie Springbok geword het) 'n mens sou gevolglik dink dat hy in een of ander bestuurspos of in 'n professionele hoedanigheid aan die my betrokke was.

January 16, 2015 at 4:36 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Hans
Member
Posts: 3

Jackie was 'n senior Personeel bestuurder op Elandrand. (nou Kusaslethu). Ek was nie werklik by sport betrokke tydens my tyd op Elandsrand nie en is nie regtig seker of hy wel by Rugby betrokke was nie. Hy was baie stil en ek het net een keer sy toets teen die Leeus met hom bespreek , Dit kort nadat ou videos weer op TV vertoon is. Ek was klein destyds in 1974 en toe ek die video van die toets sien was ek nogal beindruk met Jackie se spel die' dag. Hy het nogal goed gedoen.Ek het ook eenkeer vir Nick Bester op Elandsrand ontmoet. Hy was Harmony se atletiek bestuurder. Op skool het ons saam gehardloop en dit was in sy begin dae as hardloper. Ek spog nou nog met die foto op fb wat se: Hans Combrink tweede, Nick Bester derde.

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January 24, 2015 at 9:50 AM Flag Quote & Reply

McLook
Site Owner
Posts: 134

In 74 was ek nogal 'n groot Jackie Snyman aanhanger. OVS het baie goeie rugby gespeel in 74 en Jackie was deel van daai agtelyn wat die wereld aan die brand gespeel het. Ek wou eerder vir Jackie op No10 in die bokspan sien as Bosch; was nooit 'n aanhanger van skoprugby nie. TV was net besig om van die grond af te kom so die toetse was nooit op TV gebeeldsaai nie. Van radio kommentaar en wat in die koerante geskryf was het Jackie 'n goeie wedstryd gehad. Einde van daai jaar -gedurende die toer na Frankryk- het hy egter sy plek ten koste van Bosch in die toets span verloor.

In 1975 is hy ook deur De Wet Ras in die OVS span vervang.

January 25, 2015 at 4:17 PM Flag Quote & Reply

McLook
Site Owner
Posts: 134

Nick Bester Mmmmm. Jy moes dalk nooit opgehou hardloop het nie.

January 25, 2015 at 4:19 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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