Durban – Following the devastating news of the passing of legendary coach Ian McIntosh, the Cell C SA Rugby Legends Association joined the many tributes that have poured in from around the world as the rugby fraternity acknowledges a man that gave so much of his life to the game he loved.

McIntosh’s influence on the game spreads across decades as the Zimbabwean-born coach took over at the helm of the Natal side in the late 80s and gained legendary status at Hollywoodbets Kings Park when he managed the Natal side to their first Currie Cup triumph in 1990.

He continued to set the trends of rugby coaching in the country as the Natal side enjoyed a stretch of three other Currie Cup wins under the tutelage of Mr Mac in the 90s while he took up the role of head coach of the Springboks from 1993 to 1994.

Following his time as a professional coach, McIntosh took up the role as head coach of the SA Rugby Legends 23 years ago; a role that he kept up to his final days and the 84-year-old changed the lives of all those that he had involvement with.

“He was such an inspiration to all those that worked underneath him. It’s one thing to be a good coach but it’s another to remain friends and a father figure to all of those he coached through the years,” former Springbok captain and CEO of the Cell C SA Rugby Legends Association John Smit said.

“He was a massive part of the Cell C SA Rugby Legends giving back to the game that gave him so much and he gave us all so much.

“He will be missed and never forgotten, and he did so much not just for rugby in this country but to all those people he had an influence on.

“A lot of us have had the privilege of learning from him and being in his presence, rest in peace Mr Mac,” Smit added.

Gavin Varejes, President SA Rugby Legends, also paid a heartfelt tribute to the man that touched so many lives.

“It is with the fullest heart that we say arrivederci to our coach, mentor, founder, big brother, father and rugby icon, Ian Master McIntosh,” Varejes said.

“Mac lived and shared his passion so deeply, his legacy will live on in South African hearts forever. God’s richest blessings, our deepest and most sincere condolences to Rona and the McIntosh family.

“RIP Master, you’ll never know how much we love you.”

In 2021 the Cell C Sharks and the KwaZulu-Natal Rugby Union honoured McIntosh by renaming the main entrance gate to the stadium The Ian McIntosh Gate.