Hannes Strydom, a former South African rugby great who was a member of the Springboks’ 1995 Rugby World Cup-winning team, died in a car accident at the age of 58.
Strydom was apparently engaged in a collision with a cab on Sunday evening, November 19, in his native region of Mpumalanga, northeast of Johannesburg.
Between 1993 and 1997, he earned 21 caps for the Springboks and spent his whole club career in South Africa.
The Springboks paid tribute to Strydom on social media, with president Mark Alexander hailing him as ‘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 during a period when they dominated the game in South Africa, winning the Super 10 before it became Super Rugby, highlighting the team’s brilliance.
‘Hannes, together with other Lions players like Francois Pienaar, Balie Swart, Kobus Wiese, and Hennie le Roux, formed the backbone of the renowned Bok group that won 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.’
Strydom was hospitalized in 2014 after being attacked by six persons during an attempted carjacking. He fought off the attackers, but they threw bricks through his window, leaving him with injuries to his head and a shattered skull and jaw.
Strydom joins Ruben Kruger, Joost van der Westhuizen, Chester Williams, and James Small as the fifth member of South Africa’s World Cup-winning team to pass away.