On Monday, South African Rugby confirmed the tragic death of former Springbok lock Hannes Strydom in a car accident. At 58 years old, Strydom was a pharmacist by profession and played 21 tests between 1993 and 1997. He was a hard-working lock who never shied away from getting stuck in and doing the dirty work, as SA Rugby president Mark Alexander stated in a statement.
Strydom 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. It was the first time the two sides had played at Newlands since 1980, and the Lions won the match 25-16. Sadly, Kitch Christie, who coached the team to their title win, passed away from cancer in 1998, as did flanker Ruben Kruger in 2010. Scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen succumbed to motor neurone disease in 2017, and wings Chester Williams and James Small suffered fatal heart-attacks within two months of each other in 2019.
The loss of yet another member of the iconic Bok squad from 1995 is a heavy blow to the rugby fraternity here in South Africa. Strydom’s contributions to the team will always be remembered, and his legacy will live on through those he inspired.