THAT DROP: Joel Stransky admits All Blacks forced him to think outside the box

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  • While most drop goals are instinctive, former Bok flyhalf Joel Stransky admits his match-winning kick in the 1995 World Cup final was actually prompted by the All Blacks reading the initial move they had planned.
  • Despite coach Kitch Christie being a disciple of fitness and organisation, Stransky's moment showed that he still empowered his players to take ownership of their games.
  • A tired and cramping Os du Randt says he was extremely grateful for Stransky and Joost van der Westhuizen's initiative as the pack was probably weary of launching another set-play.

Joel Stransky's famous match-winning drop goal in the 1995 Rugby World Cup final is understandably considered a wonderful instance of instinctive play that led to glory.

Yet even though the former Springbok flyhalf and his legendary halfback partner, Joost van der Westhuizen, deserved the credit for executing that short, crucial passage of play, Stransky admits the class of the All Blacks actually forced him to have that re-think.

"Right there at the end, 12-all on the scoreboard, (captain) Francois Pienaar called a backrow move. I remember watching Joost feeding the scrum and then looking up, seeing that the All Blacks had done their homework," he said at the recent 'Class of 95' virtual event hosted by the Players' Fund.

"They had prepared thoroughly and knew exactly which move we were thinking of doing. Just the way the the All Blacks had set up their defensive line, I knew there was a gap for me to step into the pocket. I called to Joost and we changed the move. Fortunately it went over.

"I don't think Francois was one of those captains who liked to be contradicted in a situation like that!"

Pienaar, once again illustrating the tight bonds that still exist in that squad, chuckled heartily at that revelation.

"Joel, we have 500 people tuning in, I love you for doing that," the skipper said.

Nonetheless, that piece of brilliance reinforced the fact that the Springboks - despite basing their World Cup campaign on fitness and pragmatism - were a team that allowed freedom of expression.

"I love the fact that we all took ownership. We were captains of our own positions. When we saw that something was on, we could go through with it," said Stransky.

READ | 5 talking points: 1995 Rugby World Cup final

For Os du Randt, the "baby" of the team at 22, it was a surreal yet memorable moment.

The rookie loosehead prop had played himself to a standstill for 104 minutes in an attritional contest without much reward on the scoreboard.

Thankfully, Van der Westhuizen and Stransky ensured that would change.

"My head was still in the scrum when they changed the move. (Kiwi tighthead) Olo Brown and I  made a deal that we wouldn't scrum against each other anymore at that stage," said Du Randt.

"We were cramping and tired. When that kick went over, time stood still for me. I certainly don't mind Joel taking that drop kick."

South Africa neither.  

- Compiled by Heinz Schenk

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