World Rugby has joined the South African Rugby Union in paying tribute to Dr Ismail Jakoet, who passed away on Tuesday morning aged 72.

Hugely popular within the rugby family, Dr Jakoet served the global rugby community on several levels, most notably in his commitment to drug free sport and welfare advancements.

During a distinguished involvement with World Rugby spanning 20 years, Dr Jakoet served as a highly respected member of the international federation’s Anti-Doping Advisory Committee and Medical Advisory Committee, making valuable contributions to the sport’s anti-doping education and testing strategies and welfare advancement.  

Dr Jakoet performed several leading roles for his beloved South Africa Rugby Union until his retirement in 2016, including Medical Manager, Company Secretary and spearheaded the establishment of the BokSmart injury-prevention programme and was instrumental in the establishment of several leading long-term care programmes for injured players.

Such was the respect held for him, during an illustrious career, he held positions as the President of the South African Sports Medical Association (2005-07), Chief Medical Officer for the transformational Rugby World Cup in 1995 and at the All Africa Games the same year. He was also the first Chair of the South Africa Institute for Drug Free Sport in 1998 and acted as an observer for the World Anti-Doping Agency at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont led tributes from the global rugby community: “Dr Ismail Jakoet’s contribution to the advancement of rugby should not be underestimated. He was an influential figure in the fight against doping and strategies and personified the sport’s unwavering commitment to the welfare of players on and off the field.

“He was hugely loved within the World Rugby family and I know that I speak on behalf of colleagues and the wider rugby community when I say that his commitment and passion for the sport was infectious. He will be hugely missed and our thoughts and condolences are with his with Yasmin, children, grandchildren and the South African rugby community at this difficult time.”

Photo: SA Rugby