The former flanker and captain of South Africa's 1995 World Cup winning side, and current coach of leading English club side, Saracens, looks back on an eventful career in rugby union and offers his views on the future of the game. The image of Francois Pienaar shaking hands with Nelson Mandela as the South African captain was presented with the Webb Ellis trophy on that magical afternoon at Ellis Park, Johannesburg in 1995 will never be forgotten. A quite remarkable athlete and ambassador for multi-racial sport was being honoured in front of an estimated global audience of some 15 million. In his autobiography, Francois Pienaar demonstrates how throughout his career he has led by example, both on and off the pitch -- but especially off it. He not only said the right things at the right times, he convinced us that he meant every word of it. He even organised for the cash-strapped Romanians to be given a brand new set of Adidas kit before they flew home from the World Cup. Not long after this, however, he found himself incurring the wrath of the Transvaal RFU as he led a walkout of leading rugby players demanding better pay terms. In his book he describes in detail that defining period in the history of the game, and how he was ostracised by the South African board as the global game was threatened with being torn apart. A glowing international career at an end, Pienaar explains the motives behind his move to London-based Saracens as player-coach on a two-year contract. His arrival sparked a remarkable change of fortunes for the second division outfit, leading to promotion the next year followed by second place in the Premiership. How did Pienaar influence political and cultural change in South Africa? What are his views on the change from amateurism to professionalism in the sport, both in this country and overseas? Where does he see rugby heading in the new millennium? These and other powerful themes are addressed by Francois Pienaar in his hard-hitting and thought-provoking book.
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FRANCOIS PIENAAR was born in Port Elizabeth in 1967. He made his international debut for South Africa against France in 1993 as captain and went on to win more than 30 caps for his country. In 1997 he came over to England to become player-coach at Saracens, helping the second division side gain promotion and second place in the championship in 1997/98. EDWARD GRIFFITHS is a prominent South African journalist based in this country. His previous book was a ghosted autobiography of Zola Budd.Review:
" It is a tour de force" Mail on Sunday "A remarkable story" The Times "A vital addition to the collection of any Springbok fan" South Africa Times
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