He played well over 100 games in the Griqualand West Peacock Blue and White hoops, from 1957 to 1978
One of Kimberley’s sporting legends, Dennis “Eier” Jacobs, passed away on the May 7. Sincere condolences have been extended to his children, immediate and extended family, but also many tributes have been pouring in celebrating the man who was a true legend on the sports field.
Dennis Jacobs was born into a family gifted with exceptional sporting genes. His rugby career started in 1944, at the age of 11, where he played in the Under-11 and Under-15 Junior Leagues.
At the age of 16 he played fullback for Universal RFC, until an injury to the regular flyhalf saw him slotted into that position. It was the freedom and creativity of the No 10 jersey that gave expression to his game. He joined Young Collegians RFC the following year, at age 17. It was at this club that he came into his own, where he would forever be associated with the No 10 jersey and hailed as the greatest playmaker of his time.
He played well over 100 games in the Griqualand West Peacock Blue and White hoops, from 1957 to 1978. In a provincial career spanning 21 years, he had never been dropped from the team even once, from debut to his retirement.
The highlight of his rugby career was when he was selected to represent the National side where he played in seven inter-racial tests between 1969 and 1971. After his retirement, he coached the provincial side and also served as a selector. He also took up tennis competitively and participated in the National Seniors tournaments for over 70s.
Meanwhile, it was not only on the rugby field where Dennis Jacobs excelled. CEO of Northern Cape Cricket Eugene Jacobs paid tribute to him recently. “Northern Cape Cricket mourns the death of a versatile sportsman, a true gentleman of the game.
“We extend our sincere condolences to Marilyn, Trevor, Kevin and extended families on the loss of a father, grandfather, uncle and friend,” he said.
“Mr Jacobs was an exceptional sportsman, with whom I had the privilege of playing both cricket and rugby against at club level. He was also our manager when we played Provincial Rugby for Griqualand West,” Jacobs added.
“Mr J, as he was affectionately known within the community, played more sports than anyone we know, and he excelled in all of them.
“By all accounts, he was a champion swimmer and boxer, and also played tennis, rugby, cricket, athletics and soccer and he was a regular in the Griqua Cricket team.
“He received his Saru colours in 1963 and later received a Saru Blazer after unification. His exploits on the cricket fields of South Africa should be remembered and honoured as we celebrate the life of the great ‘Eier’ Jacobs. He was a classy right-handed opening batsman, as well as a wily leg spinner who had all the tricks in the book.”
Another tribute came from long-time friend Chris Ludick. “Rest in peace, the greatest flyhalf that I played alongside with, in the Griqualand West Team,” Ludick said.
“The Sacos Legends wish to express their heartfelt sympathies with the passing on of the former provincial and Rhodes Cup Legend,” he added.
Dennis Jacobs’ nephew, Gregory Bestenbier, also added his voice. “ My uncle was without a doubt the most versatile sportsman born in the Diamond City. I had watched him run out on Saturday afternoons for his club, Young Collegians; as well as when he wore the Peacock Blue and White hoops for the Provincial team.
“In the summer months, I saw him in his white flannels performing his magic with bat and ball on the matting wicket at the sun-baked Eddie Williams Oval, imperious and majestic in his bearing, the quintessential athlete.”