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Percival Colin Montgomery (1974 – )

The Order of Ikhamanga in

Percival Colin Montgomery (1974 – ) Awarded for:
His excellent achievements in the game of rugby.
Profile of Percival Colin Montgomery

Percival Colin Montgomery, holder of the all-time records for both caps and points for South Africa’s national rugby team, was born in 1974 in Walvis Bay, Namibia.

Regarded as one of the finest goal-kickers in the game, Montgomery was the top scorer at Rugby World Cup 2007 and the only player to score over 100 points in the tournament.

Montgomery attended South African College Schools in Cape Town and completed his tertiary education at the Cape Technikon. From an early age, he dreamed of becoming a Springbok.

In 1992 and 1993, he played for South African Schools before joining the likes of Bob Skinstad, Robbie Fleck and Selborne Boome in the highly successful Western Province under-21 team.

In the early part of his domestic career, Montgomery also played for the Stormers in Super 12 rugby, debuting in 1996.

Montgomery burst onto the international scene in 1997 after being plucked from relative obscurity by coach Carel du Plessis. He earned his first Springbok cap against the British Lions in July 1997 as an outside centre, scoring a try.

He came into his own as a star player when, following an injury to Justin Swart on the 1997 tour, he was moved by then coach Nick Mallet to the fullback position.

Montgomery played in the 1999 Rugby World Cup finals. By the end of 2001, he had already amassed 50 caps.

In 2002, Montgomery moved to Wales, first to play for Newport RFC and then for Newport Gwent Dragons, earning a reputation for creating scoring chances and for his consistency as a goal-kicker. A policy directive to select only domestically based players for the national team impacted on Montgomery’s career, but with a change of policy he was recalled in 2004 by 2007 World Cup-winning coach Jake White.

Montgomery was the leading points scorer in the Tri-Nations in 2004 and 2005 and on the 2005 end-of-year tour, broke his own Springbok record for points scored in a test season, finishing with 158 points from 12 matches.

Montgomery left Wales to play for the Natal Sharks in the Currie Cup and the Sharks in Super 14 rugby in 2006.

In 2006, he became the first Springbok player to reach 600 points in his test career, and in 2007 he passed the 700-point mark.

Montgomery reached two major milestones in the Springboks’ second 2007 Rugby World Cup pool match against England. He became the first Springbok to score 800 test points and equalled the record as the most-capped Springbok with his 89th appearance.

Montgomery became the most capped Springbok ever in the game against Tonga. His 878 test points gave him well over twice as many points as the player in second place on the all-time Springboks points list, Naas Botha, who in the years of sports sanctions against apartheid played in only 28 tests compared to Montgomery’s 102.

Montgomery also excelled as a sportsman in the final of that tournament, choosing to shrug off a dangerous illegal tackle on him behind the dead-ball line and getting on with the game. Montgomery moved to France after the World Cup, signing up for the French Top 14 club USA Perpignan for the 2007-2008 season.

Montgomery was signed up to return to Western Province in 2008 and is contracted to play for Western Province in the Currie Cup and the Stormers in the Super 14 until 2009. In August 2008, South African rugby’s first centurion and most-capped Test player, Percy Montgomery, announced his retirement from international rugby after the Springboks’ 53-8 Tri-Nations win over Australia in Johannesburg.

Two weeks earlier, Montgomery had achieved the 100-match milestone on his home ground Newlands against the All Blacks.

Forever inscribed in the annals of South African rugby, Percival Colin Montgomery is an unassuming legend.