Monday, 8 August 2011

The Rugby World Cup: A Gallery Part 3) 1995

Many would call it the World Cup that hammered the last nail in the coffin of Apartheid in South Africa.
This is obviously open to historical and political debate. However, it would be false to argue that the images of Afrikaans and Blacks joining together in support of their nation had no political significance.


Lomu charges through the French defence
 The Stage was Set. England and France had left the tournament in the Quarter Finals. South Africa and New Zealand were to lock horns in this final battle for the trophy they both valued so highly.

South Africa were understandably nervous. The All Blacks were formidable opponents. However, there was one Kiwi who managed to capture the international attention of Rugby audiences and strike absolute fear into his opponents. The 6ft "5, 20 Stone Jonah Lomu was New Zealand's greatest asset in the 1995 Rugby World Cup. His phenominal pace and strength made him the archetypal Rugby player and his eyes were set on the Webb-Ellis Trophy.

24th June 1995 - Ellis Park, Johannesburg.

Sixty-Three Thousand people were in attendance for the Rugby World Cup Final. New Zealander's, Whites, Coloured and Black South Africans were all there. It truly was a union of diversity.

First Half

Mehrtens puts New Zealand 3 points ahead
The points started to grace the score board when Andrew Mehrtens of NZ put his country three points ahead after SA conceded a penalty in the sixth minute.

Following Mehrtens successful kick for goal, Joel Stransky levelled the score with a penalty kick in the eleventh minute. At half-time Stransky scored a drop goal to put his team three points ahead for the second half of this World Cup Final.

Second Half

Mehrtens levelled the score in the 55th minute and the tension between the two sides increased with each inch gained towards the opposition's try line. Full time came to an end with the both sides level. It proved to be a tryless, yet riveting World Cup Final. The victors would be decided in extra time.
Chester Williams: Springbok's
only Black player.
Extra Time

The teams returned to the pitch in a state of apprehension and determination. The hearts of New Zealander's and South African's weighed on the shoulders of the players, and both sides acknowledged that it was all or nothing. True to form, both Stransky and Mehrtens remained the only points scorers and both accumulated three more points for their teams.

However the decisive moment came when Joel Stransky, 30 metres from goal dropped the ball at his foot and then struck it towards the Kiwi goal posts.

For a moment, it seemed as if time had slowed as the ball gradually drifted through the up-rights. It was sealed. South Africa were the 1995 World Cup Champions.

It was the first time South Africa won the Rugby World Cup and boy did they celebrate in style!
Stransky's Winning Drop-Goal

Arguably the most dramatic moment of all was the awards ceremony in which President Mandela shook hands with Sprinbok captain Francois Pienaar and awarded him the World Cup Trophy.

The Springboks were a team of Afrikaans and often failed to win the support of Black and Coloured South Africans. However, when Nelson Mandela entered the pitch dressed in a Springbok shirt and cap, he conveyed that South Africa was no longer a divided nation.
President Mandela and World Cup Winner Francois Pienaar
Match Report
South Africa - J. Stransky (3pens, 2DrpGs)
New Zealand - A. Mehrtens (3Pens, 1DrpG)

Final Score SA 15-12 NZ

Well Done Boys.

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