Os du Randt
Major teams: Free State CheetahsCountry: South AfricaTest span: 1994-2007Test caps: 80 (75 starts)Test points: 25 (5T)
Os du Randt thought his time in international rugby was finished after South Africa’s 1999 November tour to Europe, but little did he know that eight years later he would become the first South African to win two global titles.
After being the starting loosehead in the 1995 triumph (at the age of 22), du Randt played in the 1999 tournament before suffering a spate of injuries that kept him out of rugby for three years.
Then the phone rang and it was his old mate – and former Springbok flanker – Rassie Erasmus on the end of the line, who asked him to turn out for Free State. One thing led to another and in 2004 du Randt was recalled to the Springboks by then national coach Jake White.
It was a masterstroke from White, who admitted there was more to it than just wanting to reinstate a good old-fashioned loosehead prop to the Test team. White also wanted a man who was burning from being dropped in 1999 and had never had the chance to fight for his place, and someone who could tell his group of players just how lucky they were to be Springboks.
In 2006 the South Africans arrived in Sydney on the back of a 35-17 thrashing by the All Blacks in Wellington and the camp was not a happy one. Du Randt, usually the archetypal strong and silent type, addressed the team and the rejuvenated Boks were only beaten 20-18 thanks to Stirling Mortlock’s conversion of a Mat Rogers try at the death. Du Randt – who had 67 caps by then – wept in the dressing room and was too upset to join the post-match meeting. But his message hit home to the younger members of the squad and a year later they were World Cup winners for the first time and du Randt was a World Cup winner for the second time.
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