Pieter Johannes Frederik ‘Piet’ Greyling, born 16 May 1942 in Zastron, South Africa, is a South African rugby union player who has represented the national team, the Springboks, 43 times, captaining them once, and scoring 5 tries in total. Greyling has been described as one of the best and toughest flanks, and is best known for his pairing with Jan Ellis in 24 tests.
Piet Greyling was brought up on a tobacco farm in Mashonaland in then-Rhodesia. At the age of 14 he was sent to Sentraal High School in Bloemfontein, and eventually played for Free State Schools. After briefly attending Potchefstroom Agricultural College, Greyling returned to Rhodesia.
Greyling played club rugby for Chegutu|Hartley and represented Rhodesia, which then participated in South Africa’s top-level domestic provincial league, the Currie Cup. He featured well in Rhodesia’s match against Michel Crauste’s 1964 France rugby union tour of South Africa|1964 touring French side, which the home team lost 11-34.
In 1965 Greyling moved to South Africa. Stints for the Free State (1967) and Blue Bulls|Northern Transvaal teams followed, before he settled for Golden Lions|Transvaal, where he played for Diggers Rugby Club. Under his captaincy Transvaal shared the Currie Cup with Northern Transvaal in 1971, ending a 19-year drought, and won it outright in 1972 with a 25-19 win against Falcons|Eastern Transvaal.
Greyling made his Springbok debut at flank in the first test against France national rugby union team|France at Kings Park Stadium|Kings Park, Durban, on 15 July 1967, which South Africa won 26-3. South African rugby administrator Danie Craven described the test as a vital one, as South Africa had lost 8 of its previous 9 test matches.
When Greyling and Jan Ellis played on the same team, they formed a formidable pair in which Greyling performed a destructive role on which Ellis could capitalise, as Barry John recalled in his 1974 autobiography.
Greyling’s work ethic on the field was such that Craven said that for 80 minutes he drove himself like a slave.
There is a very good article on Piet Greyling’s career at The McLook Rugby Collection