South African Rugby announced the sad news that former Springbok lock Hannes Strydom has passed away in a car accident. Strydom, 58, was a pharmacist by trade and played 21 tests between 1993 and 1997. He started the 1995 final where the home side defeated New Zealand 15-12 to take the crown in front of a beaming Nelson Mandela at Ellis Park. This was the first time the two sides had played at Newlands since 1980, and the Lions won the match 25-16.
SA Rugby president Mark Alexander expressed his condolences on behalf of the rugby fraternity in South Africa, saying “He was a hard-working lock who never shied away from getting stuck in and doing the dirty work.” He added that Strydom’s loss is yet another heavy blow to the iconic Bok squad from 1995.
Strydom is not alone in this loss as other members of the squad have also passed away. Kitch Christie, who coached them to their title win, passed away from cancer in 1998. Flanker Ruben Kruger succumbed to cancer in 2010, while scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen succumbed to motor neurone disease in 2017. Wings Chester Williams and James Small suffered fatal heart-attacks within two months of each other in 2019.
The loss of these players has left a void in South African rugby history and will never be forgotten by fans around the world.