Kitch Christie
South Africa
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Full name George Moir Christie
Born January 31, 1940, Johannesburg
Died April 22, 1998 (aged 58 years 81 days)
Profile

George Moir Christie led South Africa to their historic 1995 World Cup triumph and remained unbeaten during his tenure as national coach between 1994 and 1996.

Picking up the nickname 'Kitch' following Don Kitchenbrand - a South African footballer who played for Rangers in the 1950s - spent time in South Africa and the USA coaching before settling at Transvaal as their coach - accepting an offer from Louis Luyt.

While at Transvaal, Christie led the team to back-to-back Currie Cup titles in 1993 and 1994 and took the inaugural Super 10 title in 1993. The team had Francois Pienaar as captain and went onto provide 13 members for the eventual Springboks squad for the 1995 World Cup.

In 1994 Luyt took the presidency of the SARFU and appointed Christie as head coach in October of that year. With the pressure of the nation on his shoulders, Christie led South Africa into the 1995 World Cup on home soil. And he had just nine months to transform the team from also-rans into world beaters. His side started the World Cup in ominous fashion defeating World Cup favourites Australia in Cape Town which meant they would eventually avoid the likes of England and New Zealand en route to the final. They prevailed against Manu Samoa and France in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively before winning the final in extra-time against New Zealand.

Christie's final match was a victory for the Springboks over England at Twickenham in November 2005 and at this time his health was deteriorating from leukemia which led to his resignation in March 1996. However, after an improvement in his health, Christie returned to rugby to coach Northern Transvaal during the 1997 Super 12 season. But he was hospitalised and was subsequently fired while in his hospital bed. He died on April 22 1998.


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