On 24 June 1995, an entire nation stood still to bear witness to one of the most significant moments in South Africa’s sporting history. Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg was the setting for the 1995 Rugby World Cup final between the host nations’ Springboks and the All Blacks from New Zealand. One man at the forefront of this encounter was Joel Stransky, who scored all 15 points for the South Africans in their winning cause on that day.
When asked to recount the build up to this milestone event, Stransky said that as a team they felt that they had ‘done really well to get this far in the tournament.’ He continued to say that a significant contributor was the support around the country coupled with the sight of a united South Africa. This reinforced the team’s self-belief tenfold.
As he recalled the details of the match he made mention of its close nature and that every opportunity counted. The Maritzburg College alum said that he believed that they were the fittest team in the tournament, which was echoed by coach Kitch Christie who said: ‘The fittest team will win this tournament.’ After 80 minutes the match was tied at 9-9 and heading into extra time the Springbok number ten said that it was clear, this was their time to go on and win it.
When asked what was going through his mind at the moment he struck that famous drop goal he simply replied ‘nothing”’and went on to say that he looked up and saw an opportunity, which he took, and it led to the victory of a unified nation. He humbly continued to make mention of the fact that it was something he felt really fortunate to be a part of and the added bonus was to be able to contribute the way he did, in doing his job on the day for the team. The feeling of winning this prestigious piece of silverware on home soil for the KwaZulu-Natal native, was all about the part he and his team mates played in bringing together this once divided nation.
It was not just about him as an individual but every single South African rugby supporter and the change that ensued to guide us to whom we are today. Stransky played 22 Tests for the Boks between 1993 and 1996, kicking 210 points and and scoring six tries along the way. He also scored a try in the opening match victory against Australia when he scored 22 points in a 27-18 victory.