Nearly 25 years on from South Africa’s breakthrough World Cup triumph, Ed Griffiths, the 1995 SA Rugby CEO, still hasn’t sympathy for the excuse from the beaten All Blacks that some of their players were ill for the final following food poisoning.
This Monday – May 25 – marks the 25th anniversary of the opening match of the third World Cup finals, a victory for the host Springboks over defending champions Australia in Cape Town.
That first-day success ignited the winning run that took the self-styled Rainbow Nation, featuring in their maiden finals following the end of apartheid, all the way to the June 24 decider in Johannesburg which they won against the All Blacks courtesy of an extra-time drop goal from Joel Stransky.
While South Africa celebrated jubilantly, their joy encapsulated by president Nelson Mandela presenting the trophy to winning skipper Francois Pienaar, New Zealand coach Laurie Mains blamed the hotel his team had been staying in for a number of his players falling sick ahead of the final.
This 1995 sickness has become legendary over the years, a waitress named Suzie alleged to have been the phantom poisoner of the All Blacks. However, Griffiths has no pity for New Zealanders who were under the weather for the final, stating it was their fault – and nobody else – for eating seafood.
In an extensive interview coming soon to RugbyPass ahead of the 25th anniversary of the start of the 1995 World Cup finals, Griffiths said: “Look, it’s true that five or six of them did have a stomach upset and I remember seeing Marc Ellis vomiting on the side of the field, so it’s certainly true.
“But all I would say on that is they ate seafood, sort of prawns, crayfish and stuff days before a World Cup final. I mean, most people would know that seafood is something that at the wrong time can give you food poisoning and clearly some of them seemed to have picked up food poisoning from that.
“There was all talk of this woman called Suzie from Southern Sun and there were all sorts of rumours about it. I remember Laurie Mains talking about it. But all I will say is that whatever they ate it was their choice to eat it. No one forced them to eat seafood days before the World Cup final.”
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