Munster coaching official Greig Oliver dies in paragliding collision in South Africa

The former Scottish international was in the country supporting his son Jack in the Under-20 World Championships

Munster Rugby coaching official Greig Oliver has died following a paragliding collision in South Africa, where he was supporting his son in the rugby Under-20 World Championship.

Mr Oliver (58), a former Scotland international, was killed when his tandem glider collided with another paraglider off the coast of Cape Town on Monday afternoon. It is understood he was on an excursion with the parents of other members of the under-20 squad at the time.

The veteran rugby coach was the father of scrumhalf Jack Oliver, who was due to line out as part of the squad in their pool match against Fiji on Tuesday.

Mr Oliver was Munster Rugby’s elite performance officer. He previously held coaching roles with Garryowen and Munster’s A team and served as the Ireland Under-20 assistant coach between 2011 and 2014.


“Greig was a hugely popular member of staff and played a key role in the development of many young players during his time at Munster Rugby,” said IRFU chief executive Kevin Potts on Monday night.

“Today’s news is an unspeakable tragedy and our thoughts are with Greig’s wife Fiona, children Jack and Ciara, and his many friends, family and colleagues. May he rest in peace.”

According to South African rescue agencies, the Scotsman was one of two people attached to a glider when it collided with another tandem glider, causing it to lose altitude.

The person with Mr Oliver deployed a reserve parachute and landed safely in the water with only minor injuries. He was then picked up by rescuers.

Mr Oliver was found on the rocks off the Sea Point Promenade. Paramedics and rescue swimmers removed him from his harness and performer CPR but he was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

The occupants of the other glider landed safely. The incident will now be the subject of a police and coroner’s investigation.

“We are all in a state of shock following Greig’s tragic passing. He was a great colleague and friend to so many and will be dearly missed across the Munster and Irish Rugby community,” said Munster Rugby CEO Ian Flanagan.

“Greig made his presence felt each day, he was always there to provide a helping hand and was a hugely popular character with his lighthearted nature and sense of humour.

“He had an infectious enthusiasm for the game and was incredibly passionate about helping young players be the best they can be on and off the field.”

It was announced earlier today that the Ireland squad will wear black armbands in Tuesday’s final pool match against Fiji in memory of St Michael’s College pupils Andrew O’Donnell and Max Wall, who tragically died while on holiday in Ios over the weekend. There are six former Michael’s boys in the extended squad.

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime and Security Correspondent of The Irish Times