Rugby World Cup memories

As supporters from around the country prepare to send the Springboks to the Rugby World Cup at a public farewell in Sandton today, the Sport24 team thought we would show our unequivocal support for the Boks by sharing our favourite personal Rugby World Cup memories, and then inviting readers to do the same …

Below is what  I had to say …

I am especially fortunate to have served the late Leo Williams, director of the 1995 and 1999 World Rugby Cups, in various capacities during the ’95, ’99 and ’03 tournaments. I thus got to see many games live at the various stadia round the world, including both the ’95 and ’99 finals. The memories range from a lowly “Who the f*** are you?” response from James Dalton, a man I played SA Schools with in ’89, when I went up to him at the post final banquet in ’95 … to the ultimate high of being in the stands when that “Good Luck Bokke” Boeing almost gave me a haircut before the kickoff of that same final at Ellis Park …

But my fondest memories are perhaps reserved for the 1999 World Cup. Based in a 4 or 5 star hotel in Deauville for 2 weeks, I was a sucker for the giant pots of “Moules-frites” that came my way – Mussles in creamy garlic sauce served with French fries … But that semi final at Twickenham that saw the All Blacks crash out to France sticks in my mind like it was yesterday. Les Bleus slipped to 24-10 behind in the first half, and it looked like plain sailing for the All Blacks, but in a sudden Gallic turnaround, they went on to add 33 points to just 7 from the All Blacks for a sensational victory. The crowd, always keen to back an underdog, and buoyed by the French amongst us, belted out the “Les Bleus, Les Bleus” chant like their lives depended on it. Truly spine tingling stuff!

CLICK HERE to read the others and submit your own in the comments. Our plan is to collate them and then send them into the Boks in New Zealand …

And then onto something completely different, yet half related!!

Tonight at the Wynberg Old Boys function, I have the privilege of getting to ask former World Cup Bok Brendan Venter a few questions over a few beers …

I am really hoping he does not pull a “Mike Bassett: England Manager” stunt on me like he did after Saracens defeat to Racing Métro, lest it become the shortest interview in Wynberg’s history, and another hit on YouTube!

Below a short intro to the man, and if you have any questions you think I should be sending his way, please feel free to drop them as a comment below …

Brendan Venter…

Born: 29 December 1969, Johannesburg.
He has 17 caps as a Springbok rugby player, representing South Africa between 1994 and 1999, including both the ’95 and ’99 World Cups.
He coached London Irish, and is currently director of rugby at Saracens.
He is a qualified MD.

Venter came on as replacement for James Small in the 1995 Rugby World Cup final in which South Africa beat New Zealand to land their first world cup.

He was red-carded in the 1999 World Cup for stamping against Uruguay in the pool stages, he was replaced by Pieter Muller for the rest of the tournament. The Springboks were knocked out in the semi-finals, defeated by Australia.

Should be fun!



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