1995 was a landmark year in South African rugby. As captain Francois Pienaar, flanked by Nelson Mandela, held aloft the Webb Ellis trophy in front of a jubilant Ellis Park crowd, the Springboks were crowned world champions for the first time and a nation once divided celebrated in unity.
As special a moment as it was, the road to it was not always a pretty one. In the final game of Pool A, South Africa took on Canada at the old Boet Erasmus stadium in Port Elizabeth.
Canada, although not a significant force in world rugby, had put up a stout effort in the tournament, especially with regard to their defence, and were clearly in the mood to give of their best against the host nation.
After a delayed kick-off due to the stadium lights malfunctioning, the game was in full swing with some hard tackling going in on the South Africans from their opponents.
As the contest progressed, it became apparent that niggles here and there were beginning to work on the players’ nerves. Then, in the latter part of the second half, all hell broke loose on the touchline in the Sprinboks’ 22m area:
The brawl cost two Springboks, James Dalton and Pieter Hendricks, their places in the team for the remainder of the tournament.