1995 Rugby World Cup
‘One Team, One Country’

South African rugby captain Francois Pienaar during the 1995 Rugby World Cup describes Nelson Mandela’s aura and many virtues: “He’s such a humble person.” Pienaar says Mandela, also known as “Madiba,” would often phone him during the ’95 Rugby World Cup game in order to check-in with the team and give them encouragement. He remembers how Mandela said to him, “Thank you for what you’ve done for South Africa” after the historic victory of South Africa over the New Zealand rugby team when Mandela, the first black President of South Africa, famously sporting a Springboks rugby shirt and cap historically worn by only the white population of the country, personally handed Pienaar the Webb Ellis Cup. Pienaar remembers thinking how he wanted to thank Mandela for what he had done for South Africa and wanting to give Madiba a big hug.

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Submitted by: Virginia Choi
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