South Africa’s head coach Rassie Erasmus instantly changed the perception of the Springbok brand, but he did it for the right reasons. Photograph: Odd  Andersen/AFP via Getty Images

I feel privileged to have broken bread with Francois Pienaar. Over dinner one night, Pienaar spoke about the importance of sport in South Africa and h(...)

 South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus and  captain Siya Kolisi after victory over England  in the World Cup  final  at the International Stadium, Yokohama, Japan.Photograph:  Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

By the end of the 2019 World Cup, all felt right in the rugby world. This feel-good tournament had the ultimate feel-good story; a head coach free of (...)

South Africa’s captain Siya Kolisi celebrates his side’s victory over Wales at International Stadium Yokohama. Photograph: Ashley Western/PA Wire

It’s impossible, from this juncture anyway, to ascertain the social significance of Siya Kolisi potentially captaining the Springboks to victory in ne(...)

South Africa’s president Nelson Mandela handing the William Webb trophy  to  South Africa’s captain Francois Pienaar  in Johannesburg  in 1995. Photograph: Jean-Pierre Muller/AFP via Getty Images

It will forever remain the single most iconic image in the history of Rugby World Cups and, perhaps, the game itself. Nelson Mandela handing over the (...)

Japan players celebrate their surprise victory in the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool B match between South Africa and Japan in Brighton. Photograph:  Charlie Crowhurst/Getty

South Africa’s head coach Heyneke Meyer said that the result was “unacceptable; I have to apologise to the nation.” Harry Potter author JK Rowling twe(...)

 Chester Williams of South Africa  during their 1995 Rugby World Cup quarter-final match against Western Samoa in Johannesburg.  File photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The iconic picture from the 1995 World Cup final of Nelson Mandela presenting Francois Pienaar with the William Webb Ellis trophy gifted rugby and Sou(...)

CJ Stander taking part in the Ireland squad session at the  The Campus, Faro. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

The last World Cup arrived just a fraction too early for CJ Stander but this one can’t come soon enough. The 29-year-old joined Munster in 2012, but(...)

Herschel Jantjies scores his match-saving try for the Springboks against the All Blacks. Photograph: Mark Tantrum/Getty

South Africa Who are they Not too long ago, South African rugby was in the doldrums. The once mighty Springboks were beaten by Italy at the end of 2(...)

George Kruis is seemingly unfazed by the incoming game of the decade. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

Topics to file George Kruis interview under: Black Monday. Stuart Lancaster. Felling Munster. Leinster revisited. Cannabis (minus the THC). That abou(...)

Paddy Johns in action for  Saracens  during a  match against  Leicester at Enfield in August 1996. Photograph:  Dave Rogers/Allsport

The greening of Saracens Part II Former Ireland captain and secondrow Paddy Johns was highly regarded during his three years at Saracens, not just by(...)

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