Rugby is an incredibly popular sport in South Africa, and in the 1980s and '90s the National Rugby team, the Springboks, had come to represent the oppressive Afrikaner regime. In fact, most non-white South Africans would root against their own country's team, as it contained only white players and, in their eyes, represented the government. As the government was transitioning to a free and equal constitution, there was much talk of not allowing the Springboks to continue. However, in1992, South Africa brought back their national rugby team after talks of ending apartheid, which led to the dramatic events of 1995.

In 1995, the third Rugby World Cup was hosted by South Africa. This was the first World Cup in which every match was held within the same country. This was the first major sporting event in South Africa after the end of Apartheid, and because of other governments' disallowing the Springboks previously, it was the first time South Africa was actually allowed to compete. Within the competition, nine different venues were used; Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein, Rustenburg, East London, and Stellenbosch. The new president, Nelson Mandela made a huge show of supporting the team (that now contained one black player) as it represented a new South Africa, and to him a peaceful way to bring citizens of all color together in one small way.

The sixteen teams competing were South Africa, Australia, Romania, Canada, England, Western Samoa, Italy, Argentina, New Zealand, Ireland, Wales, Japan, France, Scotland, Tonga, and Ivory Coast. South Africa was not expected to do well in the tournament against the much more experienced competition. Over the span of one month, May 25th to June 24th, thirty-two matches were played between the sixteen teams. These games contained twenty-four regular games, and eight “Knock-Out” games, knock out being the elimination games. South Africa won against all teams that they faced in the regular games. They won against Australia (27-18),
Romania (21-8), and Canada (20-0). Then came the knock out rounds, winning against Western Samoa (42-14) and France (19-15). The finals were played on June 24th, 1995 between New Zealand and South Africa in Ellis Park, Johannesburg.

Both countries went undefeated in their brackets to reach the finals, and was a well contested game. South Africa led 6-9 at the half, and New Zealand tied it 9-9 with a drop goal in the second half, causing overtime. Both scored penalty goals, but South Africa won the finals with a drop goal from Joel Stransky. After, the Ellis Cup was given to the captain by President Nelson Mandela, wearing a Springbok shirt and hat. It’s not only thought to be one of the biggest sports finals in South Africa, but one of the biggest in history of all sports, not only for what happened on the field, but that for the first time South Africa was truly united in something, with people of every race rooting for their Springboks to win it all.