I remember Madiba’s smile - Pienaar

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File photo. South African rugby captain Francios Pienaar, right, receives the Rugby World Cup trophy from President Nelson Mandela, left, who wears a South African rugby shirt, after South Africa defeated New Zealand in this June 1995 photo. Photo: Ross Setford

Johannesburg - One of former Springbok captain Francois Pienaar's abiding memories when he lifted the 1995 Rugby World Cup trophy was Nelson Mandela's smile, he said on Tuesday.

Talking to journalists at the former president's memorial service at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, Pienaar said Mandela had an incredible love for his country and its people.

“He wanted this country to be a pillar of hope to the world and a beacon to Africa,” he said.

Referring to the surprise of how people on the street reacted to the 1995 victory, Pienaar said: “It's very difficult to describe what happened to people who are not South African.”

Pienaar, wearing his Springbok blazer, was accompanied by current Springbok skipper Jean de Villers, who said it was “a great celebration”.

“[We're here to] celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela,” De Villiers said, also dressed in his Springbok blazer.

“He gave so much to so many around the world.” -Sapa

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