Gerry Brand

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Gerry Brand
Gerry Brand (1937).png
Gerry Brand in 1937.
Birth nameGerhard Hamilton Brand
Date of birth8 October 1906
Place of birthCape Town, South Africa
Date of death4 February 1996 (1996-02-05) (aged 89)
Place of deathCape Town, South Africa
Height1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
Weight73.9 kg (163 lb)
SchoolSea Point Boys High School, Cape Town
Occupation(s)Estate agent, Businessman
Rugby union career
Position(s) Full-back and Wing
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
Hamilton Rugby Football Club ()
Provincial / State sides
Years Team Apps (Points)
1927–45 Western Province 35[1] ()
Correct as of 13 December 2013
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1928–38 South Africa 16 (55)
Correct as of 13 December 2013

Gerhard Hamilton Brand (8 October 1906 – 4 February 1996) was a Springbok rugby union footballer who played in 16 tests between 1928 and 1938. Brand has been described as the best kicker of his era,[2] as well as a "magnificent defensive player" with a "wonderful tackle".[3][4] According to Guinness World Records he executed the longest drop goal in rugby union to date.[2][5] Brand's 55 test career points for the Springboks set a 27-year record (1938–65), which was eventually surpassed by Keith Oxlee.[6][7]

Early life[edit]

Gerhard Hamilton Brand received his second name for the Hamilton Rugby Football Club in Sea Point, Cape Town, which had won the Western Province Rugby Football Union's 1906 Grand Challenge Cup club competition two days[8] before his birth.[9] He grew up in Sea Point and learnt rugby from the age of 8.[10]

He attended Sea Point Boys High School,[11] and as a young man played scrum-half for Hamiltons, whose name he carried.[4] He was an introvert, according to his friend, Danie Craven.[11] In 1936 Brand helped Hamiltons win the provincial championship, a feat the club did not repeat for the next 73 years.[12] The club instituted the Gerry Brand trophy for best full-back which was awarded to a Hamiltonian annually.[13]

During the rugby off-season Brand and his fellow Hamilton players supported and played for the local baseball team, the Sea Point Cardinals.[14] A 1934 Australian newspaper described Brand as an accomplished baseball player,[15] and he did attain provincial colours in that sport.[16] The newspaper speculated that Brand could be chosen for a proposed exchange of baseball tours between South Africa and Japan.[15]

Rugby career[edit]

Provincial career[edit]

Brand was first selected to play for Western Province in 1927, the year that his team won the Currie Cup championships.[4] He would turn out for Province until he was 38 years old.[6] Along the way Brand scored 24 points in a match against South Western Districts, a record for a provincial game that stood until 1950, when it was surpassed by Basie Viviers.[17] In 1934 Brand established a Currie Cup series record of 70 points in 6 matches – 67 points from kicks and 3 points from a solitary try.[15]

In 1945 Brand played his last match for the Western Province before retiring from rugby.[6]

International career[edit]

In 1928 Brand made his debut for the Springboks on the wing against New Zealand, and played in two tests that year.[3]

Brand was also selected for Bennie Osler's Springbok touring party to the United Kingdom and Ireland in 1931–32.[3] He played in 18 of the 26 tour matches, scoring 72 points in total. In the test against England on 2 January 1932 Brand caught the ball close to the halfway line and against the touch line. Steadying himself, he calmly dropped a goal which travelled 77.7 m (254 ft 11 in) from point of impact to where it landed in the stands. The kick was the highlight of an otherwise dour match and helped Brand's team to a 7–0 victory.[2] His drop goal was later described as "probably the best drop goal ever seen at Twickenham".[2]

Brand was appointed captain of the Western Province team in 1932. During 1933 he played in all five tests against the visiting Wallabies of 1933.[3]

He was part of the 1937 Springbok tour to Australasia, during which he scored 90 points in seven matches – a record that stood for 56 years.[18] His 209 points in all for the tour became another long-standing record.[19] Brand kicked 69 conversions, which continues to be the record for most conversions on a Springbok tour.[20] The team lost only two matches and was regarded as the unofficial world rugby champions.[21] Brand and his 1937 teammates remain the only Springbok team so far "to win a full test series on New Zealand soil".[22]

On their 1938 tour to South Africa the British and Irish Lions encountered Brand in three defeats. He captained the Western Province Town and Country XV which handed the Lions their first defeat on tour. Brand's wide-angled kick during the dying minutes of the game propelled his team to an 11–8 victory. At Cape Town's Newlands Stadium Brand led the Western Province to a 21–11 triumph to which he contributed nine points.[21]

His name was among the first listed for the Springboks for the first test at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg. A record crowd of 36,000 watched Brand kick 14 points (4 conversions and 2 penalties) in the Springboks' 26–12 defeat of the Lions. The kicking contest between Brand and the Lions full-back, Vivian Jenkins, produced "two of the most remarkable goals ever kicked in rugby football". Jenkins succeeded with a 63-yard penalty kick, taken 8 yards inside his team's half of the field. Not to be outdone, Brand drop-kicked a 60-yard penalty from almost exactly the same place as his famous Twickenham kick.[23]

The test against the Lions proved to be Brand's last international game, as he picked up a recurring thigh injury during preparations for the second test.[21][24] In all he turned out in 46 matches for the Springboks, scoring 293 points – a record only surpassed in the 1990s by the Springbok fly-half Naas Botha.[25][26] Brand's tally still placed him 6th on the 2013 list of most points scored in all Springbok matches.[27]

Danie Craven said of Brand: "I regard him, along with Bennie Osler, as a legend among legends – an unforgettable Springbok".[11]

Personal life[edit]

Brand was appointed a national selector in the 1960s and owned a filling station in Bloemfontein.[6] Later he lived in Fish Hoek outside Cape Town, and suffered a light stroke in 1987.[28]


Brand played in 16 tests for the Springboks during which he scored 55 points. He was renowned for never missing an important kick.

Opponents Results (RSA 1st) Position Points Dates Venue
New Zealand 7–6 Wing 21 Jul 1928 Ellis Park, Johannesburg
New Zealand 11–6 Wing 18 Aug 1928 Crusaders Ground, Port Elizabeth
Wales 8–3 Full-back 5 Des 1931 St Helen's, Swansea
Ireland 8–3 Full-back - 19 Dec 1931 Lansdowne Road, Dublin
England 7–0 Full-back 4 (drop kick) 2 Jan 1932 Twickenham, London
Scotland 6–3 Full-back - 19 Jan 1932 Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Australia 17–3 Full-back 5 (penalty & conversion kick) 8 Jul 1933 Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
Australia 6–21 Full-back 3 (penalty kick) 22 Jul 1933 Kingsmead, Durban
Australia 12–3 Full-back 2 (conversion kick) 12 Aug 1933 Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Australia 11–0 Wing 3 (penalty kick) 26 Aug 1933 Crusaders Ground, Port Elizabeth
Australia 4–15 Wing 4 (drop kick) 2 Sep 1933 Springbok Park, Bloemfontein
Australia 9–3 Full-back 3 (penalty kick) 26 Jun 1937 Sydney Cricket Ground
Australia 26–17 Full-back 8 (conversion kicks) 17 Jul 1937 Sydney Cricket Ground
New Zealand 13–6 Full-back 7 (penalty & conversion kicks) 4 Sep 1937 Lancaster Park, Christchurch
New Zealand 17–6 Full-back 2 (conversion kick) 25 Sep 1937 Eden Park, Auckland
Great Britain 26–12 Full-back 14 (penalty & conversion kicks) 6 Aug 1938 Ellis Park, Johannesburg


  1. ^ Van Wyk, Louis (11 March 1987). "Rugbykaartjies al gesogter in WP [Rugby tickets increasingly sought after in WP]". Die Burger. Archived from the original on 17 December 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d Llewellyn, Dai. "Gerry Brand". World Rugby Museum Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 13 April 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d "Gerry Brand, South Africa". Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  4. ^ a b c Dobson, Paul (1995). 30 Super Springboks. Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau. ISBN 978-0798134118.
  5. ^ "Longest Drop Kick, Rugby Union". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  6. ^ a b c d "Gerry Brand was een van wêreld se bestes [Gerry Brand was one of the world's bests]". Beeld. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  7. ^ Before Brand, the previous record for most points in all test matches played had been held by Bennie Osler, who had amassed 46 points in 17 test caps by his retirement in 1933.([1])
  8. ^ According to an alternative source Brand was born on the day of Hamiltons' victory over Stellenbosch.[2]
  9. ^ "Springbok names in the news". The Referee (Sydney). 8 July 1937. p. 15. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  10. ^ "Coach Bosward successfully applies African lessons to Wests". The Referee (Sydney). 29 July 1937. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  11. ^ a b c "Gerrie Brand". Enslin's Springbok Rugby Hall of Fame. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  12. ^ Gaffney, Brian (15 September 2009). "Hamiltons get their kicks". Die Burger. Archived from the original on 15 December 2013. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  13. ^ "Hamiltons vereer Charlie Marais [Hamiltons honour Charlie Marais]". Die Burger. 26 September 1988. Archived from the original on 17 December 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  14. ^ Cleophas, Francois J; Floris J G Van der Merwe (June 2011). "Mapping out an obscured South African sport history landscape through Edward Henderson" (PDF). African Journal for Physical, Health Education, Recreation and Dance. 17 (2). Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 December 2013. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  15. ^ a b c "Baseballer, too". The Referee. Sydney: National Library of Australia. 14 February 1935. p. 12. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  16. ^ Donaldson, K C (1949). The South African Sporting Encyclopedia and Who's who. Johannesburg: Donaldson's Publications. p. 22.
  17. ^ "Basie Viviers dies in Brandfort". Archived from the original on 2009-10-22. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  18. ^ "Skrumskakels druk drieë [Scrum-halves score tries]". Beeld. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  19. ^ "Joost se 10 drieë is Bok-rekord Ruben, Robert spog elk met nege [Joost's 10 tries are Bok-record – Ruben, Robert boasts with 9 each]". Beeld. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  20. ^ "Player Profile – Gerhard Hamilton Brand". The South African Rugby Union. Archived from the original on 13 December 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  21. ^ a b c Thomas, Clem (2013). 125 Years of the British and Irish Lions: The Official History. Edinburgh & London: Mainstream Publishing. ISBN 978-1780576022.
  22. ^ Williams, Murray (27 August 2005). "In 1937, it was scrum, scrum, scrum". The Post. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  23. ^ "Gerry Brand – great test display; Far superior to Nepia.a". The Sydney Morning Herald. 10 September 1938. p. 16. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  24. ^ "Springbok Full-back Retires". The Courier-Mail. Brisbane. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  25. ^ "Botha en Gerber verbeter hul rekords [Botha and Gerber improve their records]". Beeld. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  26. ^ "NTvl se Joost van der Westhuizen druk sy 21ste Springbokdrie [NTvl's Joost van der Westhuizen scores his 21st Springbok try]". Beeld. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  27. ^ "South Africa – Statistics: Most points in ALL Springbok Matches (+200)". Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  28. ^ "Hammies se jaarvergadering [Hammies' annual meeting]". Die Burger. 19 February 1987. Archived from the original on 17 December 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013.