Stofberg, who was born on 6 June 1955, captained the Boks in four of his 21 Tests between 1976 and 1984, including the first Test on the infamous 1981 tour of New Zealand, scoring a total of six Test tries.

Stofberg won the Currie Cup in the colours of three different teams – the Cheetahs (1976), Bulls (1979, ‘80) and Western Province (1982, ‘83) – a distinction he held alone until current Springbok eighthman Duane Vermeulen equalled the feat.

“To say Theuns Stofberg made an immense mark on South African rugby in a difficult time in the history of our game, would be somewhat of an understatement,” said Mr Alexander.

“He made his Test debut against the All Blacks in 1976, only a year after playing for the SA U21s, and played in all four Tests in the series victory over the British & Irish Lions in 1980.

“In 1981, Theuns was a member of the Bok squad that toured New Zealand in very challenging circumstances, and he concluded his Test career at the age of 29 by captaining the Boks against England in the two Tests in South Africa in 1984.

“Lifting the Currie Cup only once is a highlight in the career of many, but Theuns did so five times with three different provinces, which is an amazing feat. He was a humble and hard-working rugby player who excelled at flanker and lock, representing the Boks in both positions.

“Theuns held a deep love of rugby, he treasured the ethos and camaraderie of the game, and he ensured that he and his former teammates stayed in touch over the years.

“He was well-respected all over the world and a wonderful ambassador for South Africa. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Martie, their four children, Elni, Theunis, Johan and Anzél and their spouses, their grand-children, other family and friends in this time of grief.”

Apart from his 21 Tests, Stofberg played in a further eight midweek matches for the Boks, as well as 117 provincial matches in the colours of the Cheetahs (41), Bulls (33) and Western Province (43) from 1976 to 1985. He also played for the SA U21s, the Gazelles, the SA XV and Barbarians teams and scored an amazing 64 tries in his 179 first-class appearances.

Stofberg is the second former national player who has passed away this week after former SARU prop Nazeem Toefy died on Sunday following a long illness, while former Griffons and EP coach Oersond Gorgonzola - who was head coach of the Northern Free Staters for 11 years, winning the Currie Cup First Division on four occasions - passed away on Tuesday.

“It’s been a difficult few days for the South African rugby community with the passing of Nazeem and Oersond too, both of whom played a big role in our rugby history, and our condolences go out to their loves as well,” added Mr Alexander.