South Africa mourns the loss of Hannes Strydom, a member of the revered 1995 Rugby World Cup-winning team, who tragically died in a car crash at the age of 58, as confirmed by the South African Rugby Union on Monday.
The union reported that Strydom passed away in a car accident on Sunday evening, leaving behind a legacy from his remarkable rugby career. He was a lock who proudly represented South Africa in 21 tests and 10 additional games from 1993 to 1997.
His untimely death marks the fifth loss of a relatively young member from the 1995 Springboks squad. This includes flanker Ruben Kruger, who succumbed to brain cancer at 39 in 2010, scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen who battled motor neurone disease and passed away in 2017 at the age of 45, and wingers James Small and Chester Williams, who both died within two months of each other in 2019 from heart attacks at the ages of 50 and 49, respectively.
The 1995 Rugby World Cup holds significant historical importance for South Africa as it marked the nation’s return to the global sporting stage following the lifting of the sports ban due to apartheid. The victory on home soil became a pivotal moment in the country’s sporting history.
The South African Rugby Union President, Mark Alexander, expressed the collective grief, stating, “To lose yet another member of the iconic Bok squad from 1995 is a heavy blow to the rugby fraternity here in South Africa.”
This tragic loss comes on the heels of the Springboks securing their fourth Rugby World Cup title, solidifying their status as the tournament’s most successful team.