Former South Africa rugby star, Hannes Strydom, who was part of the Springboks’ 1995 Rugby World Cup winning side has died at the age of 58 after being involved in a car accident.
Strydom was reportedly involved in a collision with a taxi in his homeland in the province of Mpumalanga to the northeast of Johannesburg on Sunday evening, November 19.
He picked up 21 caps for the Springboks between 1993 and 1997 and played all of his club career in his native South Africa.
The Springboks paid tribute to Strydom on social media as president Mark Alexander hailed him for being ‘a hero’ of South African rugby.
‘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,’ he said.
‘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.’
His former club Lions also paid tribute to him – with CEO and former team-mate Rudolf Straeuli recalling their ‘tight bond’.
‘We are deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Hannes,’ said Rudolf Straeuli, Lions Rugby Company CEO and former teammate. ‘We share a tight bond as members of the 1995 group and to lose yet another one of our brothers is a big blow.
‘Our sincere condolences go out to his family, friends, and the rugby fraternity at large.’
In 2014, Strydom was put into intensive care after being attacked by six people in an attempted carjacking. He fought off the assailants but was left with cuts to his head and a fractured skull and jaw after they threw bricks through his window.
Strydom is the fifth player of South Africa’s 1995 World Cup-winning team to have died after Ruben Kruger, Joost van der Westhuizen, Chester Williams, and James Small.