Former Springbok lock Hannes Strydom died in a car accident at the age of 58, South African Rugby confirmed on Monday. He was a beloved member of the victorious 1995 World Cup team and was a pharmacist by trade. Strydom played 21 Tests between 1993 and 1997 and started the 1995 final where South Africa defeated New Zealand 15-12 to win the championship. Nelson Mandela had been cheering from the stands at Ellis Park. In a statement, SA Rugby president Mark Alexander said Strydom was a hard-working lock who never shied away from getting stuck in and doing the dirty work. Alexander also expressed his deep sorrow over the loss of yet another member of South Africa’s iconic 1995 World Cup team, calling it a heavy blow to the rugby fraternity in the country.
Hannes Strydom is the fifth player from the 1995 World Cup team to pass away. Kitch Christie, the coach of the victorious 1995 team, passed away from cancer in 1998. Flanker Ruben Kruger passed away in 2010 and scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen in 2017 after suffering from motor neurone disease. Wings Chester Williams and James Small suffered fatal heart attacks within two months of each other in 2019. South Africa claimed their fourth World Cup title when they won the 2023 tournament by defeating New Zealand 12-11 in France.