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HelgardFor the first year since 1983, one of Free State Rugby’s most loyal servants won’t be directly involved with Free State Rugby. I think it is fitting to pay tribute to a man that offered so much. A humble man, Helgard was a fine player and then played various roles in Free State Rugby. He holds the South African record for the most Currie Cup matches played (142) as well as the Free State record for the most matches played in Free State colours (245). He is still the Sports Manager for the Central University of Technology (SUT) a post he has held for the past 21 years.



Career Overview:

Playing in a era where he competed with legends like Danie Gerber, Michael du Plessis and Faffa Knoetze, Helgard only played two tests for the Springboks, scoring 1 try. It was his career with the Free State that deserves credit. He was a stalwart at centre and was known for his effective tackling and silky distribution. In a distinguished career he has played Vodacom Cup, Currie Cup, Super Rugby as well as various matches for Free State against touring International teams.

As coach and manager of Free State Rugby teams, Helgard was the backline coach to Rassie Erasmus’ team that won the Currie Cup in 2005 versus the Bulls. In 2006 in the same capacity, the Currie Cup was shared by the Bulls and Cheetahs. In 2007 he was Naka Drotskè’s Team manager when the Cheetahs beat the Lions in the Currie Cup final.

He was also coach of the Vodacom Cup team that won the Vodacom Cup in 2000.

Helgard was a constant presence in Free State rugby since 1983. He was always very intense next to the field and became very animated when matches were tight. Many people will have fond memories of his involvement in Free State Rugby. Salute!

13 Responses to Helgard Muller – a tribute

  • 1

    Helgard certainly was a servant to rugby… that’s the type of dedication we need and want.

    Go well Helgard!

  • 2

    Yep and he was loyal to his Province as well which one does not find nowadays

  • 3

    Yeah good to see a tribute to someone who put so much in to his province, quite a good player and so a pity for him to have only played twice for the Boks, if I’m not mistaken I think he played in an era where Free State where ther backline play outshone the forwards play with the forwards play not as good then as it was to become in later years when they won trophies, so one can only imagine how much more Helgaard could have gone on to achieve if he played behind a dominant pack through his career.

  • 4

    There is more than 100 games difference between the number of provincial matches he played and the total number for Free State, what is the difference between provincial games and all the other ones Cheetah? He played various games against touring International teams but even these can’t have amounted to such a high number.

  • 5

    4 @ Bullscot: Good question Bully! I went and checked, will make the correction. It was 142 Currie Cup matches, and 245 matches in Free State colours, which could be anything from Vodacom Cup, tour matches, Super rugby and Junior rugby.

    In addition, he was a fair cricketer too.

    Full name Helgard Lourens Muller

    Born June 1, 1963, Bloemfontein, Orange Free State

    Current age 49 years 243 days

    Major teams Orange Free State

    Batting style Right-hand bat

    Bowling style Right-arm offbreak

    Batting and fielding averages:

    Mat: 6, Inns 8, N/Out 2,Runs 53, HS 23, Ave 8.83, Catches 3
    First-class 6 8 2 53 23 8.83 0 0 3 0

    Bowling averages:

    Mat 6, Balls 510, Runs 334, Wkts 6, BBI 2/22, Ave 55.66, Econ 3.92, SR

  • 6

    5 @ Cheetah4eva:
    Ahh thanks Cheetah that makes sense then explains the big difference. Quite a talented sportsman then to play a bit of provincial cricket guess he could have played more if he wasn’t focussing on his rugby.

  • 7

    All this and a fine man!
    I knew him, Ryk Smuts and Mike Sullivan well when I lived in Bloem.

  • 8

    7 @ Loosehead:
    I thought as much, given that you probably played with him too. I recall you saying you played with Lightfoot, and that got me thinking, did you play with or against Johan Styger. He was also a solid player.

    Cheetahs have had some fine props over the years. CJ, Janie du P, Wian, Daan Human, Os, Coenie, WP Nel, Styger, Dougie Heymans, Dawie Theron (Griquas), Bees Roux, Ollie le Roux.

    Remember the 2007/8 years when we had Janie, CJ, Ollie, Os, Ollie and Wian du Preez playing.

    And then we had some terrible props. Kobus Caldo being my pet hate!

  • 9

    I had the honour to see him run on as a replacement wing(!) in his first test at Ellis Park against the NZ Cavaliers 1986 (the day Gert Smal floored Gary Knight with a short right to the jaw!)
    Also saw Helgard play for the best Crey College team ever, with his brother Pieter (at fullback, mind you!), Naka (flank), Reuben Kruger…..
    Helgard was ‘white lightning’ through the outside gap (an art form those days displayed by a few only of the likes of Jo Maso, Bruce Robertson, David Smith, David Duckham, Danie Gerber and the Ella brothers).
    And he could tackle like an octopus!
    One of South Africa’s greats, Helgard Muller.

  • 10

    He only played so long cause his son was on the Freestate selection panel IMO

  • 11

    @ Cheetah4eva:
    Ja, the States has produced fine quality props over the years. It saddens me that certain Bok coaches chose lumps of shit like Werner Kruger ahead of younger talent like WP ( what an unfortunate name to call a rugby player) Nel. And in doing so forcing him to play oversea’s.
    Even Brok Harris deserves to be a Bok before Werner Kruger.

  • 13

    11 @ Loosehead:
    I agree, WP Nel was a far superior prop to Kruger, but then so is Pat Cilliers that only got a belated call up, and even the adriaanse brothers are better than Kruger.


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