As we’re celebrating the 25th anniversary of South Africa’s first Rugby World Cup triumph in 1995, former Springbok flyhalf Joel Stransky said it was an “unbelievably special time” in his career as a young rugby player.
Stransky is the guest in the fifth episode of the SA Rugby Podcast in what is the first installment looking back at what happened in 1995. Listen and subscribe on Soundcloud, Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
He doesn’t only discuss the Springboks’ progress through the tournament, but also the significance of the role played by the late Madiba, former President Mr Nelson Mandela; how Stransky went against the captain’s call in the final; losing team-mates and friends to death; as well as what last year’s RWC triumph in Japan meant for him.
“As you look back (at 1995) with a bit more maturity, you come to realise the significance of the achievement,” said Stransky.
“We did something that was incredibly special for our country at the time, and that the greatest leader of all time, Madiba, used to unite a nation and bring people from a whole lot of different lifestyles and cultures together, and if I look back, that is probably the most significant thing and what brings those warm and fuzzy feelings.”
The tournament kicked off with the opening game against the defending champions, Australia, in Cape Town on 25 May (view our gallery here), and culminated with that unforgettable final at Ellis Park on 24 June.
The first four podcasts, which feature Rassie Erasmus, Branco du Preez, Aled Walters, Jacques Nienaber, Cheslin Kolbe, Handre Pollard, Bongi Mbonambi, Malcolm Marx and Schalk Brits can be accessed here.
Photo credit: Grant Leversha.
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