In the history of Springbok rugby, Mark Andrews will be remembered for a number of things – a Rugby World Cup winner in 1995, one of the real hard men in green and gold and the first person to represent South Africa in 50 Tests.
But in the latest episode of the SA Rugby Podcast and the second in our series looking back at the 1995 World Cup victory on home soil, available on Soundcloud, Spotify and Apple Podcasts, a proud Andrews reveals that it was the 2019 RWC victory, and not the triumph 25 years ago, that made him cry.
Andrews said he was honoured when Rassie Erasmus asked him to hand out the jerseys before one of the Springboks’ Tests in the last two years.
“I asked him what I should say to the guys and he said I must tell them that people must again fear playing the Springboks – he wanted to bring that back,” said Andrews.
“In our era, under Nick (Mallett), there was a time when people didn’t like playing against us, not because we were dirty, but we were hard.
“He started bringing that back into the Springboks and it’s something I recognise and appreciate. At the end of the day, that jersey stands for something very special, and Rassie wanted the guys to understand the responsibility that comes with wearing that jersey.
“And they ended up playing just the way they should – especially in the final against England, it was almost like men against boys, with that physical domination.”
Andrews – who also revealed on of the lowlights of his Bok career, how terrified he was playing at No 8 in 1995 and adapting to playing under six different Springbok coaches – said the 2019 World Cup was probably one of his best moments as a rugby player, not having run out onto the field.
“I never shed a tear when I was part of the squad that won the World Cup in 1995 – I was probably too young and I didn’t fully understand the importance of it,” he said.
“I am not ashamed to say that I watched last year’s final with my one son and at the end of that match, I cried – it was like reliving everything from 1995 that I never got the chance to feel and experience.
“I probably cried with joy at seeing the Springboks play in a way that made me incredibly proud to be a Springbok.”
The first six podcasts, which feature Rassie Erasmus; Branco du Preez, Aled Walters and Jacques Nienaber; Cheslin Kolbe and Handre Pollard; Bongi Mbonambi, Malcolm Marx and Schalk Brits; Joel Stransky; and Jurie Roux can be accessed here.
Image below by Grant Leversha.
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