Today is a very special day for all South Africans, be they rugby fans or not. It doesn’t really matter where you stand on the merits of the oval ball game, what cannot be denied is that winning the 1995 Rugby World Cup has left an indelible mark on the country as a whole.
This may explain why most of us feel an almost irresistible urge to hug any player responsible for that triumph 20 years ago to the day, an occasion that will see all the squad members reunite at Ellis Park to live tweet the match from 3PM.
Whilst the players meet up to relive the glory days, minus Ruben Kruger who has since passed away, it is worth taking a look at what our heroes have been up to. I won’t go through the full squad of 28 (you can see that HERE) but here are some of the more memorable characters:
MARK ANDREWS (LOCK/NO 8)
Andrews retired from international rugby in 2002 and played for the Newcastle Falcons in England until 2004. Upon returning to South Africa, he joined the management team of a sporting goods company. He and his partner then bought the company, sold off different divisions to shareholders and managers, and kept one division. Andrews is now a partner in the M5 Sports group that specialises in supplying and servicing sports and general merchandise goods into mass retail in South Africa and Africa.
JAMES DALTON (HOOKER)
‘Bullet’ runs a company called Green Planet Fax, which offers account-based fax-to-email solutions that reduce businesses’ carbon footprint. He is also a brand ambassador for Red Bull Wings for Life and GNC sports nutrition, and part of the JAG Foundation, which sees him visiting schools on the Cape Flats and speaking about the effects of bullying.
PIETER HENDRIKS (WING)
Hendriks joined former Springbok wing Ray Mordt’s company Sisonke Hydraulics & Engineering before the 1995 World Cup and is now a co-owner and marketing director. In 2002, he bought a cattle farm in Mpumalanga and continues to work in the agricultural industry. Hendriks is also an SABC commentator, covering all Springbok Tests played in South Africa and Currie Cup finals.
RUBEN KRUGER (FLANK)
The ‘Silent Assassin’ passed away in January 2010 after a 10-year battle with brain cancer. After finishing his rugby career in 2000, Kruger established a camera franchise business in Pretoria. He was diagnosed with a brain tumour later that year, and went to Nigeria to seek help from faith healer TB Joshua. The tumour was removed in 2000 but resurfaced in 2009, and Kruger would die two months before his 40th birthday.
JAMES SMALL (WING)
Small became a successful restaurateur after retiring from rugby in 1999 and owned Cafe Caprice in Camps Bay. He also has business interests in ADreach, a company specialising in street pole advertising in South Africa. Small was involved with the Investec Rugby Academy, before being appointed Pukke assistant coach for the 2014 Varsity Cup. He then joined the Leopards in the Currie Cup First Division as coaching consultant.
HENNIE LE ROUX (FLYHALF/CENTRE)
Le Roux founded the South African Rugby Players’ Association in 1998 which he presided over until 2008. He established a range of other companies in the years that followed, but spends most of his time at Crown River Safari, his luxury lodge on Medbury Farm outside Grahamstown.
You can check out that full list HERE. And remember the golden rule guys – you see Joel Stransky out anywhere at any time and you make sure he doesn’t pay for a drink.
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