Durban, 05 April 2023:
It is with great sadness that The Sharks and KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Union mourn the passing of the legendary former Natal and Springbok coach, Mr Ian McIntosh, who led The Sharks into the professional era and four Currie Cup titles during the 1990s.
“Mr Mac” as he was fondly known, was a revolutionary in rugby, a trailblazer, an innovator, and an icon who helped turn the B league Banana Boys into The Sharks, who became a South African rugby force during his time as coach.
In paying tribute to Mr McIntosh, The Sharks CEO Dr Eduard Coetzee said: “When you speak of the legends of Sharks rugby, the first name that springs to mind is Mr Mac. He embodied the very essence of Sharks rugby and was a passionate and loyal supporter until the very end.
“His contribution to the game was immense and we extend our sincere condolences to his wife Rona, his children, grandchildren, his extended family and everyone who knew and loved this larger-than-life personality, who lived and breathed the game of rugby.”
After leading Natal to the Currie Cup title in the union’s centenary year in 1990, he quickly became a household name in South African rugby and followed his success with a second title in 1992.
He was selected as the Springbok coach in 1993 and 1994 after his achievements with the province and on his return to Durban, he claimed back-to-back victories in the 1995 and 1996 tournaments as the province dominated the competition for a decade.
Former CEO of The Sharks and now President of the KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Union, Mr Brian van Zyl added: “I am saddened to hear of Mac’s passing and extend my deepest condolences to his entire family. He was not only innovative, but also practical. He did not want robots for players, but intelligent men who could think on their feet. He personified what is meant to wear the jersey with pride and was a true rugby man.
“His piercing stare and intense personality underlined his determination to succeed, but a glint in his eye marked him as a man of the people. His players respected him, but they also loved him and would do anything for him.
“His proud and celebrated legacy will continue for years to come.”
When he retired as Sharks coach at the end of the 1999 season, his passion for the sport kept him involved in rugby and he spent many years with the South African Rugby Legends, coaching the team of former Springboks as well as rugby clinics in disadvantaged areas.
In 2013, World Rugby awarded the Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service to Mr McIntosh, for his outstanding service to coaching and management.
In 2021, his legacy at The Sharks was honoured when the main entrance to the stadium was renamed the Ian McIntosh Gate.
Rest in peace Mr Mac. You have run your race and what a race it was!
Forever a legend. Forever a Shark.