With New Zealand and South Africa preparing for a Rugby World Cup warm-up match at Twickenham on Friday, we're highlighting two items which have recently been loaned to the World Rugby Museum.
From The Vaults
The first is an oil painting of Chester Williams, purchased by the lender at an auction in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The half-length portrait depicts the South African winger wearing a Springbok jersey and holding a rugby ball. It is by Fleur Ferri, an artist born in Pretoria in the 1920s. She won a scholarship to study art at the Natal Technical College in Durban and held her first major solo exhibition in 1947. She is known for her portraits of eminent public figures in South Africa, including several Heads of State.
Chester Williams played for South Africa between 1993 and 2000, making his debut against Argentina in Buenos Aires at the age of 23. The Springboks won the match, with a try from Williams contributing to their 52-23 victory. He went on to play 27 games for South Africa and scored 14 tries, becoming one of the country's most famous rugby stars.
In 1995, he was included in South Africa's Rugby World Cup squad. He scored four tries in the quarter-final against Western Samoa before playing in the semi-final victory against France that set up a final with New Zealand. Held at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, the final ended 15-12 to South Africa after Joel Stransky's drop goal in extra time sealed their victory.
When Nelson Mandela famously presented the Webb Ellis Cup to captain François Pienaar, Williams was the only black player in the team. Selection of non-white players was uncommon in South Africa prior to 1992 due to the country's apartheid policy, and Williams was the first since his own uncle, Avril Williams, had received two caps in 1984. Mandela recognised that the 1995 tournament could play an important role in unifying the divided country and endorsed the team's success as something for all South Africans to celebrate.
The second object is a jersey worn by Richie McCaw, who made 148 appearances for New Zealand between 2001 and 2015, including a man-of-the-match performance on his international debut. McCaw was the first All Black to reach 100 caps and for five years, he was the most capped test rugby player of all time.
In 2004, he was appointed captain of the All Blacks and, despite their elimination in the quarter-finals of the 2007 Rugby World Cup, he retained the captaincy and went on to lead his team to consecutive Rugby World Cup titles in 2011 and 2015. During his career, he captained the New Zealand team in 110 matches.
This jersey was worn in New Zealand's second test against the British and Irish Lions in 2005. Dan Carter dominated, scoring two tries and making nine successful kicks from ten. A try from McCaw extended the All Blacks' lead in the 75th minute and the final score was 48-18. The jersey was swapped with his opposite number, Lewis Moody, following the match. It was a record score for an international team against the Lions, and the result secured a 3-0 series win for New Zealand.
The portrait and the jersey will be on display at the World Rugby Museum throughout the week as we look forward to a rare opportunity to see these two sides face each other at Twickenham.
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