What a day it was...
This week will mark 20 years since Madiba handed Francois Pienaar that trophy...
Joel Stransky, the man who put over the kick that won the 1995 Rugby World Cup for South Africa, has never watched a recording of that match. This coming Wednesday, June 24, will be the 20th anniversary of the unforgettable day when the Springboks won the Webb Ellis Cup at Ellis Park by beating the apparently invincible All Blacks, catapulting South Africa into rapturous celebration. Stransky, who put over a dropped goal in extra time to make the score 15-12 in South Africa’s favour, said last week he had never viewed a video of the entire match.
“I’ve obviously seen clips of it at dinners and functions, but I’ve not sat down to watch all of it. I know the result, and the memories are etched in my mind forever,” said the former Springbok fly half.
The rugby match is imprinted in South Africa’s collective memory because then president Nelson Mandela pulled off a masterstroke of motivation by wearing a Springbok No 6 jersey (the number of captain Francois Pienaar) on to the field for the closing ceremony. It is one of those dates that most South Africans remember where they were and what they were doing.
With the match deadlocked at nine points all after the stipulated 80 minutes, the teams went into extra time, 10 minutes each way, to try to produce a winner.
New Zealand fly half Andrew Mehrtens gave his team the lead early in extra time but Stransky levelled the scores with a penalty (12-12) and then landed the drop goal that clinched the victory.
And what made a memorable occasion even more special was that the golden trophy was presented to Pienaar by a beaming Madiba.
Stransky and Mehrtens scored all the points, with Stransky’s 15 coming by way of two dropped goals and three penalties, while Mehrtens kicked a drop goal and three penalties.
THE MOMENT SA fly half Joel Stransky kicks the winning drop goal amid a challenge by New Zealand’s Andrew Mehrtens, who himself scored two drop goals in the 1995 World Cup final between the two nations
GOOSEFLESH Nelson Mandela congratulates triumphant Bok captain Francois Pienaar after the Boks won the World Cup