On the 25th anniversary of the Springboks’ maiden World Cup triumph in 1995, flyhalf Joel Stransky reflects on an ‘unbelievably special time’.
Buoyed by the nation’s newly ushered-in democracy and the unwavering support of the home crowd, hosts South Africa stormed into the final.
There they met tournament favourites the All Blacks, but in the end it was Stransky who nailed a stunning drop goal in extra time to hand the Springboks a fairytale 15-12 win.
Speaking on the SA Rugby podcast, Stransky said he only came to appreciate the enormity and significance of the victory later in life.
‘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.’
He also discussed the Springboks’ progress through the 1995 tournament, the significant role former president Nelson Mandela played at the time, how he (Stransky) went against the captain’s call in the final, losing teammates and friends to death as well as what last year’s RWC triumph in Japan meant for him.
Listen to the full podcast here:
Photo: Gallo Images