1995 Rugby World Cup Final
Event1995 Rugby World Cup
After extra time
Date24 June 1995
VenueEllis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
RefereeEd Morrison (England)[1]

The 1995 Rugby World Cup Final was the final match of the 1995 Rugby World Cup, played in South Africa. The match was played at Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg on 24 June 1995 between the host nation, South Africa, and New Zealand.

South Africa won the match by three points in their first Rugby World Cup Final, which was also the first to require extra time. Unusually, the points were scored by only one player from each team, with Andrew Mehrtens of New Zealand scoring all 12 of the All Blacks points, (three penalties and one drop goal) and Joel Stransky tallying all 15 points (three penalties and two drop goals) for the Springboks, including a drop goal in extra time, which sealed the victory and their first ever Rugby World Cup title.

At the end of the match, South African President Nelson Mandela, wearing a number 6 Springbok rugby shirt and cap, presented the Webb Ellis Cup to the South African captain François Pienaar.

Path to the final

The final was contested by the hosts, South Africa, and New Zealand. Both teams finished at the top of their pools, both undefeated in the pool stages. South Africa defeated Western Samoa in the quarter finals, and then France in the semi-finals to reach the final; the All Blacks defeated Scotland in the quarter-finals, and England in the semi-finals, a game in which Jonah Lomu famously scored four tries.

Going into the final, New Zealand had led the tournament in points scored, outscoring their opponents 315–104, while South Africa had outscored their opponents 129–55. The high scoring All Blacks had been led by Lomu, who had the record for most tries in a world cup match summary. Prior to the game, the national anthem of New Zealand, "God Defend New Zealand", and the then-dual national anthems of South Africa "Die Stem van Suid-Afrika" and "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" were sung by the Imilonji Kantu Choral Society.[2]

First half

No tries were scored, but this did not diminish the tense atmosphere and climactic finish. The South Africans played a largely defensive game. Due to the strength of flanker Ruben Kruger and No. 8 Mark Andrews plus scrum-half Joost van der Westhuizen, the expansive attacks from New Zealand were repeatedly closed down. Andrew Mehrtens opened the scoring with a penalty after six minutes to give New Zealand a 3–0 lead. A Joel Stransky penalty put South Africa on the scoreboard after 11 minutes. Mehrtens and Stransky swapped successful penalty kicks. Following a period of pressure, Stransky landed a 32nd minute drop goal to give South Africa a 9–6 lead at half time.

Second half

The All Blacks levelled the scores at 9–9 with a Mehrtens drop goal after 55 minutes. Though All Blacks fly-half Andrew Mehrtens almost kicked a late drop goal, the score remained unchanged at full time, forcing the game into extra time for the first time in a Rugby World Cup final.

Extra time

Extra time began with South Africa needing to take the initiative, due to the ruling that if extra time finished with scores still level with no side having scored more tries than the other, then the team with the better overall disciplinary record during the tournament would win.[3] But early in the first half, the Springboks were penalized for chasing a Stransky kick from an offside position.[3] From just inside the half-way line, Mehrtens kicked truly to give New Zealand a 12–9 lead. As half-time approached, Stransky put a high kick for his teammates to chase, and from the resultant play referee Morrison penalized the All Blacks for diving to the ground near the tackle, and right on the stroke of half-time Stransky levelled the scores at 12–12. Seven minutes from time it was Stransky who scored the final point. From thirty metres out he struck the drop goal, securing South Africa's victory and the Rugby World Cup crown.


After the match Nelson Mandela, wearing a Springbok rugby shirt and cricket cap, presented the Webb Ellis Cup to South Africa captain François Pienaar. The moment is one of the most famous of any sporting final.[4] In 2002, Mandela's presentation was listed at number 70 in a list of the 100 Greatest Sporting Moments on a British television programme.[5]

During the end of tournament banquet, South Africa's rugby president, Louis Luyt said in his speech that "There were no true world champions in the 1987 and 1991 World Cups because South Africa were not there." This claim led the New Zealand team to walk out of the dinner.[6]

Match details

24 June 1995
13:30 UTC+2
South Africa 15–12 New Zealand
Pen: Stransky (3/4) 10', 22', 90'
Drop: Stransky (2/2) 31', 92'
ReportPen: Mehrtens (3/3) 5', 13', 83'
Drop: Mehrtens (1/2) 55'
Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Attendance: 65,000
Referee: Ed Morrison (England)
South Africa
New Zealand
FB 15 André Joubert
RW 14 James Small downward-facing red arrow 97'
OC 13 Japie Mulder
IC 12 Hennie le Roux
LW 11 Chester Williams
FH 10 Joel Stransky
SH 9 Joost van der Westhuizen
N8 8 Mark Andrews downward-facing red arrow 90'
BF 7 Ruben Kruger
OF 6 Francois Pienaar (c)
RL 5 Hannes Strydom
LL 4 Kobus Wiese
TP 3 Balie Swart downward-facing red arrow 68'
HK 2 Chris Rossouw
LP 1 Os du Randt
HK 16 Naka Drotské
C 17 Brendan Venter upward-facing green arrow 97'
FL 18 Rudolf Straeuli upward-facing green arrow 90'
SH 19 Johan Roux
PR 20 Garry Pagel upward-facing green arrow 68'
FB 21 Gavin Johnson
South Africa Kitch Christie
FB 15 Glen Osborne
RW 14 Jeff Wilson downward-facing red arrow 55'
OC 13 Frank Bunce
IC 12 Walter Little
LW 11 Jonah Lomu
FH 10 Andrew Mehrtens
SH 9 Graeme Bachop red cross icon 67' to 70'
N8 8 Zinzan Brooke
OF 7 Josh Kronfeld
BF 6 Mike Brewer downward-facing red arrow 40'
RL 5 Robin Brooke
LL 4 Ian Jones
TP 3 Olo Brown
HK 2 Sean Fitzpatrick (c)
LP 1 Craig Dowd downward-facing red arrow 83'
WG 16 Marc Ellis upward-facing green arrow 55'
FH 17 Simon Culhane
SH 18 Ant Strachan upward-facing green arrow 67' downward-facing red arrow 70'
FL 19 Jamie Joseph upward-facing green arrow 40'
PR 20 Richard Loe upward-facing green arrow 83'
HK 21 Norm Hewitt
New Zealand Laurie Mains

Ed Morrison (England)

Touch Judges:
Derek Bevan (Wales)
Joël Dumé (France)

In popular culture

Mandela and Pienaar's involvement in the 1995 World Cup became the subject of Clint Eastwood's Oscar-nominated 2009 film Invictus, featuring Morgan Freeman as Mandela and Matt Damon as Pienaar, with the final as the climactic scene and filmed on location at Ellis Park. Chester Williams, the only black player in the 1995 Springbok squad, was a technical consultant.

Poisoning allegations

New Zealand coach Laurie Mains and doctor Mike Bowen have claimed that the All Blacks were intentionally food poisoned while staying at a South African hotel.[7][8] The South African side has rebuffed these claims and New Zealand manager Colin Meads has attributed the poisoning to "dodgy milk" rather than an intentional act.[9]

See also


  1. ^ "Jérôme Garcès to referee Rugby World Cup 2019 final | Rugby World Cup". www.rugbyworldcup.com. Retrieved 6 August 2023.
  2. ^ "Gobingca George Mxadana (OIS) | Classical Movements". 23 February 2018. Retrieved 6 August 2023.
  3. ^ a b Jones, Stephen (25 June 1995). "One team, one nation, one kick". The Sunday Times. No. 8913. Gale FP1802922177.
  4. ^ "Rugby World Cup history". BBC. 7 October 2003. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
  5. ^ "100 Greatest Sporting Moments – Results". London: Channel 4. 2002. Archived from the original on 4 February 2002. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  6. ^ Donegan, Lawrence (26 June 1995). "Afrikaans arrogance sours Springboks' taste of victory". The Guardian. London: Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
  7. ^ "Rugby players' food may have been spiked". The Independent. 20 November 1996. Retrieved 24 September 2023.
  8. ^ "RWC #40: New Zealand blame food poisoning on waitress 'Suzie'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 24 September 2023.
  9. ^ "Meads: Dodgy milk wrecked 1995 World Cup hopes". Yahoo Sports. 9 June 2008. Retrieved 24 September 2023.