For 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.
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!