The Rugby World Cup in South Africa back in 1995 was all about one man. It may have been the tournament where Jonah Lomu made a name for himself, but it was fate that South Africa won the tournament. The iconic image of Nelson Mandela appearing in a Springbok jersey united the country that had been through so much.
It was a seminal moment in rugby history, and in South African history. 20 years after that moment, World Rugby have posthumously inducted Mandela into the Hall of Fame
Nelson Mandela, who harnessed rugby as a vehicle for social change in 1995, has been posthumously inducted into World Rugby Hall of Fame
— Greg Clark (@greg_clarkie) October 3, 2015
World Rugby chairman Bernard Lapasset presented the Hall of Fame cap to 1995 Springbok captain Francois Pienaar:
The World Rugby Hall of Fame recognises those who have made an indelible mark on our sport through feats on the field of play, displays of great character or through their tireless and inspirational work in driving forward our great game.
Mandela certainly fits in that category. He was instrumental in turning Rugby World Cup 1995 into a momentous occasion that united the South African nation through the power of sport.
By supporting the Springboks so passionately and publicly on their way to victory, Mandela helped to change attitudes, soften hearts and convince minds of the right course of history for his country to take and, in the process, became a wonderful example to us all.
Now, 20 years on from that historic tournament, we are delighted to induct the former president into the World Rugby Hall of Fame.
It is a fitting tribute to a man who did so much for his country and our sport.
Mandela's actions at the World Cup in 1995 cemented the tournament in history, and it's a nice touch for World Rugby to honour his memory.