If you're South African and haven't read this, shame on you!,
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This review is from: Rainbow Warrior: The Hard-Hitting Autobiography (Hardcover)
I had thought that Pienaar might talk more on his life under apartheid and say more than he did about his experiences of Nelson Mandela especially given Invictus. Nevertheless as this was a book about a Rugby hero it comes as no surprise that the central focus was firmly on his Rugby career.
Roughly the outline of the book followed the following structure:
- Growing up in South Africa
- Getting selected to play for Transvaal Rugby Team
- Getting selected for the Springboks
- Preparing for the World Cup 1995
- Winning the World Cup 1995
- The creation of Rugby Union and going pro
- The fall out caused by going pro
- Departure from South Africa and the Springboks
- Going the Saracens
- Death of Kitch Christie
- Leaving the Saracens
- Reflection on the Rugby World Cup 1999
The book included a number of interesting facts about Pienaar that I didn't know prior; such as originally he was going to become a professional cricket player rather than a Rugby player, and that he trained as a lawyer eventually earning his masters degree in Law.
I was touched and inspired by his fondness for Kitch Christie, and his recollections of the man prompted me to find a copy of his Biography, `Life of a Descent Man', which has since become rather scarce.
I met the man once, as a child in 1995 when he toured the Rugby stadiums in South Africa and met with the kids to talk to them about the game as part of his World Cup 1995 marketing. Since then I have held a degree of admiration for the man and must admit that his book left me remembering his career and the years gone by during which I have followed his career. This trip down memory lane, whilst enjoyable, made me feel a little old...
Overall, an engaging book from first to last. I am sure that as the years go by Pienaar will continue to be held as a Rugby Legend and one of the founding fathers of the professional game that has become known as Rugby Union.