Mark Alexander, the president of the South African Rugby Union (Saru), expressed his deepest condolences on behalf of the entire South African rugby community to Greig Oliver’s family, the Irish Rugby Union (Irfu) and the World Rugby U20 Championship team after a glider accident in Seepunt claimed his life on Monday.
“We are thinking and praying for the Oliver family at this terrible time, as well as the entire Irish team over whom a terrible shadow now hangs,” Alexander said in a statement.
“This tournament is about youth, enjoyment and the shared experience for young men and their families. Such a terrible accident is extremely upsetting for the players’ parents. We share in the pain of the Oliver family and join them in their sadness at a time that should have been full of excitement and optimism.”
RNews earlier reported that 58-year-old Oliver, rugby coach from Munster, Ireland, died on Monday afternoon after two tandem paragliders collided in Seepunt, Cape Town. Oliver was a passenger on one of the gliders. Two skydivers collided in mid-air above the boardwalk. One of the gliders landed safely and the pilot and passenger were unhurt. The second glider deployed a second parachute during the accident and landed between 200 m and 300 m away in the sea. When emergency workers arrived on the scene, they found the male pilot of the second glider near the boardwalk. He was treated for minor injuries.
The passenger of this glider, who was later identified as Oliver, was found on the rocks by the boardwalk.
“The South African Rugby Union, which is hosting the event on behalf of World Rugby, will do everything in its power to support the Oliver family in this terrible situation,” added Alexander. He also expressed his condolences to Kevin Potts, CEO of Irfu, who is in Cape Town for the event.
Oliver is well-known in rugby circles as a former Scottish international scrumhalf (1987 – 1992) and as Munster rugby’s elite performance officer. His son, Jack, also a scrumhalf, is a member of Ireland’s under-20 team.