Avatar photo

By Sports Reporter


Popular rugby journalist Rudi Jacobs dies at 57

Rudi worked at The Citizen for 17 years, earning his place as a senior reporter.

Tributes have poured in for a key member of The Citizen’s editorial staff after chief rugby writer Rudolph Jacobs passed away on Sunday morning at the age of 57.

Jacobs, who was affectionately known as ‘Rudi’ by those who knew him, lost a short battle with illness.

An integral part of the publication’s sport content, he was well known in the South African rugby community, particularly at the Lions, having focussed much of his career on covering the Johannesburg-based team.

“I remember Rudolph as a polite guy who was friendly and always had a smile,” said former Lions coach Eugene Eloff.

“He had a very tactful way that he used to ask his questions and his feedback was always accurate. His passing really is a loss to the media.”

Annemie Bester, who worked with Rudi earlier in his career at the Transvaler and in her role as former Lions media manager, knew him for the last 30 years of his life.

“Rudolph was a hard-working rugby writer who was dedicated to his craft, and he will be sorely missed among his colleagues,” Bester said.

The Golden Lions Rugby Union said, “We join in the mourning of the passing of Rudolph. He was a dedicated scribe to Lions rugby, and will be missed. Our deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues in this difficult time.”

Previously, Rudi had worked as a sports reporter at the Klerksdorp Rekord and Die Transvaler newspapers, and as a production editor for Farmer’s Weekly magazine.

For nearly two decades, however, he worked at The Citizen, earning his place as a senior reporter.

“I’ve known and worked with Rudi for 17 years. Covering rugby, especially the Lions, was his life,” said Trevor Stevens, editor of The Citizen.

“In recent times he battled with his eyesight, and as a result he was sadly going to miss covering the British and Irish Lions rugby tour for our publication – a huge blow for him.

“Rudi was a hard worker. If there was a rugby game at Ellis Park, you were guaranteed to see him sitting in the press box, doing what he loved. He will be sorely missed. Our condolences go out to his family.”

Aside from the Lions, as a specialist rugby reporter, Rudi’s beats also included the Cheetahs and the Springboks, a critical role in the newspaper’s sport department.

“It is with utter shock and sadness that we hear of Rudi’s passing,” said The Citizen’s head of sport, Jacques van der Westhuyzen.

“He was a good, kind-hearted person who always went the extra mile. He was always prepared to do his best for his profession and he never shied away from a task.

“He was very passionate about rugby, he enjoyed writing and he always had a smile on his face. We will really miss him.”

Rudi leaves behind his partner of 14 years, Dawn Snyman, his children Shaun, Kirsten and Jason, and his step-children Jean-Marie, Christa and Jaco.

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits