The image of Francois Pienaar shaking hands with Nelson Mandela in 1995 will never be forgotten by many. In his autobiography, Francois Pienaar demonstrates how, throughout his career, he has led by example, both on and off the pitch.
In one of the most important rugby books of the last three decades, the former captain of South Africa's 1995 World Cup winning side reveals his compelling career story and his remarkable role in the historic re-emergence of the Rainbow Nation onto the world stage. The image of Francois Pienaar shaking hands with Nelson Mandela as the South African captain was presented with the Webb Ellis trophy on that magical afternoon at Ellis Park, Johannesburg in 1995 will never be forgotten. A quite remarkable athlete and ambassador for multi-racial sport was being honoured in front of an estimated global audience of some 15 million. In his autobiography, Francois Pienaar demonstrates how throughout his career he has led by example, both on and off the pitch -- but especially off it. He not only said the right things at the right times, he convinced us that he meant every word of it. He even organised for the cash-strapped Romanians to be given a brand new set of Adidas kit before they flew home from the World Cup. Not long after this, however, he found himself incurring the wrath of the Transvaal RFU as he led a walkout of leading international rugby players demanding better pay terms. In his book he describes in detail that defining period in the history of the game, and how he was ostracised by the South African board as the global game was threatened with being torn apart. A glowing international career at an end, Pienaar explains the motives behind his move to London-based Saracens as player-coach on a two-year contract. His arrival sparked a remarkable change of fortunes for the second division outfit, leading to promotion the next year followed by second place in the Premiership and a Cup winners trophy in 1998. Rainbow Warrior is much more than an autobiography of a top-class sportsman. It is the first-hand account of a man who grew up in a strong Afrikaaner heartland to unite his country, the new South Africa, the rainbow nation, not just in rugby but across the wide spectrum of international relations.
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Francois Pienaar was born in Port Elizabeth in 1967. He made his international debut for South Africa against France in 1993 as captain and went on to win more than 30 caps for his country. In 1997 he came over to England to join Saracens as player-coach. Edward Griffiths is a freelance sports writer, having been Sports Editor of The Sunday Times in South Africa in 1990-93 and Chief Executive of the SA Rugby Union. His previous books include biographies of Naas Botha, Joost van der Westhuizen and Jonty Rhodes.
Rainbow Warrior by Francois Pienaar
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