1995 World Cup memories

2009-11-06 17:25

Basking in the promo-indulgence surrounding Clint Eastwood's movie about this country, our national rugby team and their magnificent, almost miraculous triumph at the 1995 Rugby World Cup, has got us all misty-eyed, goose-pimply and thoroughly nostalgic for the early days of the new South Africa, here at Channel24.

We cast our minds back 14 years, to the day of the World Cup final, the day rugby became a sport and a celebration all South Africans could be a part of. Because we won, and everyone loves a winner...

    * I was at home, my whole family crowded around the TV. We'd been glued to the World Cup tournament from the start mostly because we were still amazed that we'd beaten Australia in the Newlands opening game. I don’t think anyone said a word in that last, fateful moment when Joel Stransky did some sort of ballet manouevre to get that ball over for the three winning points. But bedlam followed. We were a little unsure of exactly how excited we should be over the Springboks winning the World Cup, since rugby was still so much a bastion of Afrikaner culture back then. But seeing Nelson Mandela wearing that #6 shirt, looking as if he'd just realised the highlight of his entire life, with (what felt like) the entire nation behind him, I think I felt South African for the first time in that moment. - Shaheema Barodien

    * It’s all a bit vague. I was in primary school and admittedly, I couldn’t care less about rugby. It seemed like a big deal, though, since the entire week, the papers and every other TV show had been railing on about how much of a monster Jonah Lomu was.  During the game I remember that every time he had the ball something like five men would pounce on him simultaneously. I felt robbed – I wanted to see him tearing through the backline and knocking down tackles with the same violent intensity the TV shows had used to scare us into watching. I thought "cool" when the Springboks won. I might have forgotten about it the following day.- Masande Ntshanga

    * Not much of a sports lover so I went to the movies… which was eerily empty. I really wanted us to win but I thought that we were going to lose the match so I decided not to watch it. When I got home, my sister (who wasn’t in South Africa at the time) and friends kept sending me messages so I finally turned on the TV and watched the last 15 minutes. Wow. Made it hard to swallow and I caught a glimpse of what being a sports fan must be like. When Nelson Mandela received the trophy I had a ‘proudly South African’ moment.- Soraya Abdulatief

    * I was on my hands and knees in the snow outside my motel in Amsterdam battling to change the two flat tires on my car with a rusty tire iron. It was my last day abroad and I had no money and no travellers cheques left to pay the Automobile Association to help. To cut a helluva long story short, I missed the entire 95 RWC spectacle. - Miles Keylock

    * I was watching it with my family. I was only 10 at the time. My family loves rugby and naturally  the World Cup was a big deal in our house. We had family and friends over and watched the game. The men were going crazy - all of them armchair commentators, they just couldn’t shut up. But it all ended when SA won. That was the only time they’re all agreed on something and how amazing our boys were.- Ulpha Edries

    * I had to phone a friend on this one, because the 90s were my 60s and I have to rely on eyewitness accounts for evidence that I had an awesome time. Apparently I watched the game at a crowded digs in Mowbray, Cape Town, and afterwards we all went to the River Club in Obs for a majestic piss-up. At the time, the event had no impact on me. I mean, it was just a stupid rugby game, and I had beer. Now, I can appreciate its significance. - Chris McEvoy

Watch the Invictus trailer and take a look at the promotional poster to get that feeling back, for a little while at least, ahead of the 11 December release of the Clint Eastwood-directed movie, starring Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon as Francois Pienaar.

Over to you: What are YOUR memories of the 1995 Rugby World Cup? Did you really believe the Springboks could win it?

Where were you at the moment Joel Stransky slotted that dropkick and made a SA an officially rugby-crazed nation?

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