Hannes Strydom, a prominent figure in South African rugby and a member of the historic 1995 Springboks team that clinched the Rugby World Cup, has passed away at the age of 58. Strydom’s life was tragically cut short in a car accident near the coal mining town of eMalahleni in Mpumalanga province on Sunday.
Strydom, who earned 21 caps for the Springboks between 1993 and 1997, played a pivotal role in the team’s triumphant victory against New Zealand in the 1995 World Cup, a significant event in post-apartheid South Africa.
Details surrounding the accident remain unclear, but reports suggest that the vehicle Strydom was travelling in collided with a minibus taxi. Kobus Wiese, a former teammate and close friend, expressed that the circumstances leading to the accident were not fully known.
The South African Rugby Union President, Mark Alexander, paid tribute to Strydom, recognizing him as “one of the heroes of our local game.” Strydom’s former club, the Lions, also honoured him, emphasising the tight bond shared among the members of the 1995 group.
Strydom concluded his Springboks career in 1997 after participating in the British and Irish Lions series. Beyond rugby, he made contributions as a pharmacist, establishing the Pharma Valu pharmacy chain in Pretoria after retiring from the sport.
In 2014, Strydom faced a harrowing incident when he was attacked in a carjacking, sustaining a cracked skull and stab wounds. The rugby community mourns the loss of a legend, marking the fifth member of the 1995 Springbok team to pass away, joining Ruben Kruger (2010), Joost van der Westhuizen (2017), Chester Williams, and James Small (2019), along with Coach Kitch Christie in 1998.
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