What a day it was...

This week will mark 20 years since Madiba handed Fran­cois Pien­aar that tro­phy...

CityPress - - Sport - DAN RETIEF dan.retief@city­press.co.za

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.

PHOTO: GALLO IM­AGES

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

PHOTO: AN HAM­MAN / GALLO IM­AGES

GOOSE­FLESH Nel­son Man­dela con­grat­u­lates tri­umphant Bok cap­tain Fran­cois Pien­aar af­ter the Boks won the World Cup

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