Mark Alexander, president of the South African Rugby Union, paid tribute to former Springbok lock Hannes Strydom, a member of the Rugby World Cup-winning squad in 1995, who died in a car accident on Sunday evening, aged 58.
Strydom, who was born on 13 July 1965, played in 21 Tests and 10 non-Tests between 1993 and 1997. Apart from helping the Springboks to win the Webb Ellis Cup for the first time, on home soil, in 1995, and facing the British & Irish Lions in 1997.
He was also a member of the Lions when they won the Super 10, Currie Cup and Vodacom Cup in the 1990s, and played provincially for the Eastern Province and the Bulls, finishing his career with more than 150 provincial appearances.
After his playing days, Strydom was a successful businessman who owned a chain of pharmacies. He is the fifth member of the 1995 Springbok squad who has passed away, after Ruben Kruger, Joost van der Westhuizen, Chester Williams and James Small.
‘One of the greats’
“Hannes was one of the great locks of his generation and as a member of the Springbok squad from 1995, one of the heroes of our local game,” said Alexander.
“He also played more than 100 games for the Lions at a time when they dominated the game in South Africa and won the Super 10 before it became Super Rugby, which underlined the quality of that team.
“Hannes, along with other players from that Lions team, such as Francois Pienaar, Balie Swart, Kobus Wiese, and Hennie le Roux, formed the core of the famous Bok squad that lifted the Webb Ellis Cup in South Africa in 1995.
“He was a hard-working lock who never shied away from getting stuck in and doing the dirty work. To lose yet another member of the iconic Bok squad from 1995 is a heavy blow to the rugby fraternity here in South Africa and our thoughts and condolences are with his wife, Nikolie, their children, Annalie, Hannes and Lucy, family and friends in this very difficult time.”
The news of Strydom’s death comes less than a month after the Siya Kolisi-led Springboks successfully defended their Rugby World Cup title, bringing their tally to four global crowns.