RWC 1995: Mandela inspires Springboks

(Rugby News Service) Sunday 28 August 2011
 
RWC 1995: Mandela inspires Springboks
Scotland's Gavin Hastings scored 44 points against Ivory Coast

AUCKLAND, 28 Aug. - Nelson Mandela's release from prison in February 1990 paved the way for the end of apartheid in South Africa and the lifting of the international sporting boycott on the country.

What emerged was the Rainbow Nation and it would host the third Rugby World Cup in 1995. The Springboks qualified automatically as hosts and were joined in the main draw by 1991 quarter-finalists Australia, England, New Zealand, Scotland, Canada, Ireland, Samoa and France.

Joining South Africa for their debut were Ivory Coast. From the Americas came Argentina, and from Asia it was Japan who qualified. Wales, Italy and Romania clinched places in European qualification and in Oceania, Tonga edged out Fiji.

It was to be the last tournament before the professional era and it signalled the introduction of five points for a try.

Stransky's full house

South Africa's Joel Stransky recorded the first “full house” in a RWC match, when the fly half scored 22 points from a try, a conversion, four penalties and a drop goal in the 27-18 defeat of titleholders Australia in the opening game in Cape Town.

On the second day, Scotland's Gavin Hastings scored a world record 44 points as his side defeated Ivory Coast 89-0, which set a RWC record score and winning margin. Their grasp of the record was brief because an under-strength New Zealand regained it with a 145-17 win over Japan in Bloemfontein.

All Black Marc Ellis scored six tries, a record that still stands. Eric Rush and Jeff Wilson each scored a hat-trick of tries as New Zealand racked up a record 21 tries and 20 conversions, which were all kicked by Simon Culhane, who surpassed Hastings' mark with 45 points.

England became the first country to fail to cross the try line in three consecutive RWC matches despite a 24-18 win over Argentina.

Berbizier's super double

The quarter-finals contained seven nations that had reached the same stage in 1991. South Africa were the exception as Canada missed out.

In Durban, France coasted past Ireland, led by Thierry Lacroix’s 26-point effort. It also meant that teammate Pierre Berbizier became the first person to reach the semi-finals as a player (1987) and a coach (with France in 1995), an accomplishment that is still unmatched.

Chester Williams scored four tries to help the Springboks defeat Western Samoa 42-14 at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.

Rob Andrew's 45-metre drop goal clinched England's 25-22 triumph over Australia, the team that had beaten them in the final in 1991. An Andrew drop goal had also sunk Scotland in the semi-finals four years earlier.

Scotland's campaign ended, like it did in 1987, when they went down to New Zealand, 48-30.

Springboks win kicking match

South Africa beat France 19-15 in the first semi-final in Durban after a kicking match between Stransky and Thierry Lacroix. Ruben Kruger scored the only try. After falling behind 10-0, the French clawed it back to 10-9 but the Springboks pulled away to reach the final.

The South Africans then watched on television as Jonah Lomu and New Zealand ran all over England. Lomu scored four tries in a 45-29 victory to send the All Blacks into their second RWC final.

Lacroix boot fells England

Lacroix scored nine more points in France's 19-9 win over England in the bronze medal match to finish the tournament with 112 points, second only to All Black Grant Fox's record of 126 in 1987.

Nelson's column

President Nelson Mandela was in the 60,000 crowd at Johannesburg's Ellis Park to see South Africa capture the RWC with a dramatic 15-12 victory over favourites New Zealand in the first match to go to extra time. Mandela watched the game clad in the number six jersey of Springbok captain Francois Pienaar.

It was 9-9 after normal time and Stransky's drop goal eight minutes from the end of extra time proved to be the winning points, sparking emotional scenes in the stadum.

It was also the first final in which neither team crossed the try line.

RNS bdj/wf/rm/mr