Cronje, who would have turned 71 years old on 21 September, played seven Tests and eight non-Tests for South Africa, between 1971 and 1974, scoring a total of five tries in the green and gold.

“Losing a member of our rugby family is never easy and I would like to pay our respects to Peter Cronje, who wore the green and gold with aplomb in the early 1970s,” said Mr Mark Alexander, President of SA Rugby.

“To his family, friends and former team-mates, I extend our condolences during this very difficult time. May you find solace in your memories of Peter, whose name will forever be etched in the history of South African rugby.”

The former Golden Lions (then Transvaal) and Sharks (then Natal) midfielder featured for the Gazelles against the All Blacks in 1970 and made his Test debut a year later, in the first Test against France in 1971 in Bloemfontein.

Later in 1971, Cronje was a member of the South African tour squad to Australia, featuring in all three Tests and scoring a try in the final encounter in Sydney as the Springboks made a clean sweep of the Wallabies Down Under.

Cronje toured with the Gazelles, a SA Under-24 team, to Argentina in 1972 and played his final two Tests against the British & Irish Lions in 1974.

He was the only Springbok who managed to cross the tryline in the ill-fated 1974 series against the tourists from Britain and Ireland. The Lions won three of the four Tests, and the final match ended in a 13-13 draw, with Cronje touching down in the match.

Interestingly, that was also the first four-point try for the Springboks, as the value of a try increased from three to four points at the end of the 1971 season.