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Hennie le Roux - Springbok Center

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When Mandela visited the Springboks at Silvermine Nature Reserve, one of the players - Hennie le Roux - was so impressed with the President that he gave the leader his Springbok cap.  Mandela frequently wore it thereafter.

John Carlin, author of Playing the Enemy, interviewed le Roux and was very touched by him and his observations about Mandela.  As Carlin notes, in the book's introduction:

...I started seeing people specifically with this book in mind only after I had talked to Mandela, beginning with a star of that championship Springbok team named Hennie le Roux. 

You don't expect to emerge feeling warm and sentimental after interviewing a rugby player.  But that was what happened to me, because le Roux had been so moved as he spoke about Mandela and the role he, a decent enough but politically unversed Afrikaner, had found himself playing in his country's national life. 

We spent about two hours together in an otherwise empty office floor, as dusk fell, and three or four times he had to stop in midsentence, choking back sobs.  (John Carlin, Playing the Enemy, page 5.)

After the Springboks won the Rugby World Cup final, in 1995, le Roux (the team's center) effortlessly hoisted Francois Pienaar (the team's captain) onto his shoulders and carried him off the Ellis-Park field.

We learn more information about Hennie, and his professional rugby-playing days, from South African Rugby Legends:

Hennie Le Roux was born on the 10th of July 1967 in Grahamstown. He attended Graeme College. He is 1.75m tall and weighs around 80kg.

He is a former Springbok who played centre and flyhalf. He was part of the squad that won the Rugby World Cup in 1995.

He played at the Craven Week for EP 1986 and for SA Schools 1986. In 1987 he played for the U20 EP.

His international debut was in 1991 for the Junior Springboks, he continued to play for them in 1992.

His first international for the Senior Springboks debut was on Saturday, 26th June 1993 v France in Durban, They drew 20-20 at the age of 25. His final appearance was on the 15 of December in 1996 v Wales in Cardiff. They won 37-20. He has a total of 27 caps.

In 1996 he played for South Africa XV then for the CATS in 1998.

In 1997 Hennie founded the Players Association and is currently Chairman of the South African Rugby Players Association.

Hennie finished his professional Rugby Career in 2000.


Media Credits

Image online, courtesy Daily Dispatch Online.

Quoted passage from Playing the Enemy by John Carlin, page 5.

Quoted material from South African Rugby Legends.

 

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