Jonah Lomu scored seven tries at the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Picture: Action Images via Reuters
Jonah Lomu scored seven tries at the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Picture: Action Images via Reuters

12 interesting facts about the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa

By Jacques van der Westhuyzen Time of article published Jun 3, 2020

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Twelve interesting facts you may have forgotten about the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa.

1. Nine venues were used across South Africa to host matches, including Olympia Park in Potchefstroom, Boet Erasmus Stadium in Port Elizabeth, the Basil Kenyon Stadium in East London and, believe it or not, the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch.

2. Only one other African team, besides South Africa, played at the tournament and that was the Ivory Coast. They lost all their matches (including their first outing, 89-0 against Scotland) and sadly wing Max Brito was paralysed after breaking his neck against Tonga. 

3. New Zealand back-up No 10 Simon Culhane played only one match (the 145-17 win against Japan in Bloemfontein) but scored 45 points in the game, which included 20 conversions (and one try).

4. New Zealand’s Marc Ellis scored six tries in the same match against Japan - a record for tries scored in one match.

5. Hooker Naka Drotske and centre Brendan Venter replaced the suspended James Dalton and Pieter Hendricks, who were banned from playing in the tournament following the brawl against Canada in the pool game in Port Elizabeth.

6. Canada is the only team to have received two red cards in one match, in the 20-0 defeat by the Boks. Gareth Rees and Rod Snow were sent from the field. 

7. James Dalton is the first South African to have been shown a red card, during the ill-fated match against Canada in Port Elizabeth. The only other South African to be shown a red card at a World Cup was Brendan Venter, in 1999, in the 39-3 win over Uruguay.

8. New Zealand’s Jonah Lomu and Marc Ellis scored the most tries at the 1995 tournament - seven each.

9. The Springboks’ leading try-scorers in 1995, with four each, were Chester Williams, who scored all his tries in the quarter-final against Samoa, and loose-forward Adriaan Richter, who scored two each against Romania and Canada.

10. The top point-scorer in 1995 was France’s Thierry Lacroix, with 112 points. He was followed by Scotland’s Gavin Hastings, with 104 points, and Andrew Merhtens in third with 84. Fourth was England’s Rob Andrew with 79, with Joel Stransky of the Boks fifth with 61. Lacroix then turned out for Natal, guiding them to two Currie Cup titles.

11. The Boks’ World Cup story and the role played by former president Nelson Mandela, is told in the book “Playing the Enemy” by John Carlin. It was turned into a movie called “Invictus”, starring Matt Damon as Bok captain Francois Pienaar.

12. Laurie Kay was the pilot who flew the Boeing 747 low over the Ellis Park Stadium before the final of the 1995 World Cup.


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