Sport and politics shouldn't mix – a least that's what sports politicians, the Sepp Blatters of this world, will tell you.
But the two are inextricably bound together and sometimes they produce unlikely but amazing results.
Francois Pienaar knows this better than most. As Springbok captain, tradiitionally the figurehead of the white man's game, he should have been the archetypal establishment man. And yet he stood shoulder to shoulder with Nelson Mandela in the new South Africa's finest early hour – their victory at the 1995 World Cup.
The win, against the mighty All Blacks (oh the irony) was easily Pienaar's peak during his 29-cap international career.
Post 1995, his rugby life was mired in controversy as the game took its first confused steps into the professional era. Pienaar fought with the South African rugby old guard over the transition and ended up in Europe as player-coach, and later CEO, for Saracens.
He returned home in 2002 and his ties with the new South Africa were cemented when Mandela agreed to be godfather to one of his children.
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