Mr Masson was the first WP president after unification and he also brought his considerable business acumen to local rugby at a time when the game went fully professional in the mid-90s.

Furthermore, he was a part of the SA Rugby structures when commercial activities really took off at the turn of the century and the governing body established a fully professional arm.

A scrumhalf in his playing days, Mr Masson also represented Western Province before moving into rugby administration in the late 1960s, first at club level and later with the Cape Town-based union.

“Ronnie was a vastly experienced and distinguished rugby administrator and businessman, and he played a huge role at a difficult time during our rugby history, especially in mending and building relationships during his nine years in office,” said Mr Alexander.

“Through his vast experience from working at Sanlam, he could guide both SA Rugby and Western Province through some turbulent waters and his role in changing the face of the game in South Africa will never be forgotten.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones in this very difficult time and we hope that they will be able to find solace in some wonderful and cherished memories of Ronnie.”