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Francois Pienaar
Around the Academy:

Francois Pienaar in training with South Africa
Pieenar was a star for Saracens in England


It was an incredibly tense and emotional experience - some of the guys were physivally ill.

You can't imagine but it's such an important hour-and-a-half in your life.

I tossed and turned a bit the night before. I needed four to five hours good sleep. I got it, but I was constantly thinking about the game.

When I woke up I guess I thought of lifting the trophy, but the focus was on the game not the outcome.

When we got to the ground, there were sirens and screaming. It was like a scene out of a movie. It was then a relief to finally play and get the fanfare over.

Francois Pienaar holds aloft the Rugby World Cup
Nelson Mandela handed Pienaar the trophy

The game is still very clear in my mind. I thought the haka was a great moment.

I love it. It's incredibly special. In fact, as was every minute of the game. It would be unfair to single out a minute or so.

When the final whistle went, I fell to my knees. I'm a Christian and wanted to say a quick prayer for being in such a wonderful event, not because of the winning.

Then all of a sudden I realised the whole team was around me which was a special moment.

No Hollywood scriptwriter could have wrritten a better script.

It was just unbelievieable on the streets of South Africa. For the first time all the people had come together and all races and religions were hugging each other.

It was just wonderful.

And to cap it off, I was handed the trophy by South African president Nelson Mandela.

He said: "thank you very much for what you've done for South Africa" but I said "thank you for what you've done".

I almost felt like hugging him but it wasn't appropriate I guess.

Then I lifted the trophy which was unbelievable. I can't describe the feeling as I wouldn't do it justice.


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The chosen few
David Kirk
Nick Farr-Jones
Francois Pienaar
John Eales

Francois Pienaar facts
Date of Birth: 2 January 1967
Place of Birth: Vereeniging, South Africa
Position:Flanker
International caps: 29
International points: 15
International debut: 26 June 1993 against France
Last international appearance: 10 August 1996 against New Zealand

The 1995 World Cup final
South Africa 15-12 New Zealand, played on 24 June at Ellis Park, Johannesburg, South Africa

Did you know?
Pienaar won every single one of his 29 international caps as captain of South Africa



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