South African Rugby announced on Monday that former Springbok lock Hannes Strydom had died in a car accident at the age of 58. Strydom, a pharmacist by trade, played 21 tests between 1993 and 1997, including the historic 1995 World Cup final where the home side defeated New Zealand 15-12 to win the title in front of Nelson Mandela at Ellis Park.
SA Rugby president Mark Alexander released a statement expressing his condolences and paying tribute to Strydom’s contributions to the sport. “He was a hard-working lock who never shied away from getting stuck in and doing the dirty work,” Alexander said. “To lose yet another member of the iconic Bok squad from 1995 is a heavy blow to the rugby fraternity here in South Africa.”
Strydom’s death marks another tragic loss for South African rugby, with several other members of the 1995 squad having passed away over the years. Kitch Christie, who coached the team to their title win, passed away from cancer in 1998, while flanker Ruben Kruger succumbed to his illness in 2010. Scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen died of motor neurone disease in 2017, and wings Chester Williams and James Small suffered fatal heart-attacks within two months of each other in 2019.