Former South Africa fly half Joel Stransky has said that Siya Kolisi leading the Springboks out at Ellis Park on Saturday is up there with his winning drop goal in the 1995 World Cup final and Nelson Mandela wearing the famous green and gold jersey in terms of significance for the country.
Speaking to The Rugby Pod, he described it as “a momentous day” and said it has the potential to bring South Africa together after more recent examples of divisions within the country.
“It’s enormous. As much as we like to think we’re a first world country, we are still very much a country that is evolving and is divided by race and culture and something like that brings to a new supporter base to an old Afrikaaner, white sport like rugby,” he said.
“It brings people together, it brings in government support and it makes sponsors want to be more involved in the game so it is big and it is historic but the most incredible thing about it is Siya himself.
“He is not someone who has been picked as Springbok captain as part of a political move. He thoroughly deserves to be there. He is an unbelievable player to start with and is certainly one of the best loose forwards in the country but most importantly he is a great leader and he is the most sensational human being.
“He comes from a really tough background and was raised by his gran in a rural township so to achieve what he has achieved with his background and to be where he is in life is just the greatest example for all of us in the world, let alone for us as South Africans.”
Stransky, who kicked all of his team’s points in the 1995 World Cup final victory against New Zealand, told Andy Goode and Jim Hamilton that the feel-good factor faded away quickly after that triumph and he hopes this historic moment will have a more lasting impact.
“When you compare the periods of uncertainty, it was maybe more on a knife edge back in 1995 whereas now it’s more of an underlying uncertainty…but instead of dividing a country around race it was a chance to unite a country once again,” he told The Rugby Pod.
“That euphoria and that honeymoon period after 1995 faded quite quickly but this was another opportunity to once again use sport as a conduit to take a bunch of culturally divided people and get them all supporting a rugby team. It was a massive day and it couldn’t have gone off better.”
Check out the full episode to hear Stransky discuss the action in the first Test last weekend, look ahead to the second Test and discuss the fallout from the controversial incident involving Ashwin Willemse on SuperSport recently.
Enjoy and you can listen to all previous episodes here
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