Hannes Strydom crash: Rugby World Cup winner, 58, becomes fifth player from ’95 legends to die after string of tragedies

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A FIFTH player from the South African World Cup winning rugby team of 1995 has died before their time after being killed in a horrific car crash sparking talk of a curse.

Strapping 6ft 6in tall second row Hannes Strydom, 58, died in the wreckage of a horrific car crash on Sunday on the N4 near Witbank in Mpumalanga Province on Sunday.

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Rugby World Cup winner Hannes Strydom was killed in a crash[/caption]
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Strydom has now become the fifth player from the Springbok ’95 team to die[/caption]
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The rugby player was part of the Springbok starting line-up which ran out at Ellis Park in Johannesburg in front of newly elected President Nelson Mandela[/caption]

A third of the Springbok starting line-up which ran out at Ellis Park in Johannesburg in front of newly elected President Nelson Mandela and ran off as legends are dead.

Strydom’s untimely death has now sparked dark rumours surrounding the legendary team after four other players and their coach all died without one of them reaching the age of 60.

South Africa like the whole continent is a hugely superstitious country and with the early death of each 1995 Springbok word of a curse grows louder with every players death.

First to go was the team coach Kitch Christie, 58, in 1998 from cancer and he was followed in 2010 by flanker Ruben Kruger, 39, who played 36 times for the Boks of a brain tumour.

In 2017 one of the best ever scrum halves Joost van der Westhuizen, 49, died after a brave battle against Motor Neurone disease and in 2019 winger Chester Williams, 49, died.

Williams who was the only black player in the world cup winning team played 27 times for the Boks and despite having a reputation of being super fit collapsed with a heart attack.

The team’s wild-man and winger James Small, 50, collapsed in 2019 whilst naked and drunk in a strip bar and was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead from a heart disease.

When news broke that retired Strydom who played 21 times for the Springboks between 1993 and 1997 had also died unexpectedly it brought rumours of a curse back again.

A former Springbok living in Cape Town who knew all 5 players and the coach well said: “The talk of a curse keeps doing the rounds but it is total nonsense but it is always out there.

“They were all a group of super fit men back at the time but like any group in any walk of life things will catch up for a percentage of them and it is just quite sad there is even talk like this.

“Hannes was a big man with a big heart and on the pitch he was a beast but off it he was a loving family man with a beautiful wife Nikolie and three children he loved so much.

“Hannes was a pharmacist and had built up a successful chain of chemist shops and was doing very well in life and for him to lose his life in a car crash is just bloody terrible.

“I give very short shrift to anyone in my company I hear talking of a curse. It is tragic that we have lost so many Bokkie legends so young but such is life and life goes on” he said.

Hannes played for Eastern Province then Northern Transvaal but played most of his career for Transvaal who became the Bulls and played over 100 times for them before he retired.

Details of the car crash are scarce at present buy the South African Police have confirmed a fatal accident in which the Springbok lock was killed. His wife Nikolie was too upset to comment.

The dead man’s fellow second row forward in the 1995 final Kobus Wiese, 59, said:”Yes it is so. At this stage the information is very vague but he and other person were in a vehicle.

“We heard it collided it with a taxi and that’s all we know right now” he sd.

Nelson Mandela became the first black President of South Africa after apartheid ended in 1994 and in 1995 watched the Springboks win their first ever World Cup on home soil.

Mandela who was imprisoned for 18 years on Robben Island by the white regime united the post-apartheid nation as he presented Springbok captain Francois Piennar with the cup.

He infamously wore the green and gold Springboks No 6 shirt and a Springbok cap when he presented the Webb Ellis trophy after the Boks beat the All Blacks 15-12 in the final.

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