Wednesday 26 November 2014

'I wish BOD was a Springbok' – Pienaar salutes fellow hero

Declan Whooley and Kirsty Blake Knox

Published 04/04/2014 | 02:30

SOUTH Africa's World Cup-winning captain Francois Pienaar has paid the ultimate tribute to Brian O'Driscoll, saying he wished he was a Springbok.

Pienaar is in Ireland to launch the One Young World Summit, which takes place in Dublin this October.

The former Springbok flanker, who famously lifted the William Webb Ellis Cup in 1995, says that O'Driscoll is up there with the legends of the game.

"I watched the Six Nations and what a campaign for Ireland," he told the Irish Independent.

"What a finish for Brian. You just couldn't script it. What a career he has had. I just wish he was South African."

The 29-cap Springbok spent the day in Dublin to promote the One Young World (OYW) Summit, which will see 2,000 young leaders from 190 countries converge on the city from October 15-19.

Declan Whooley speaks to Pienaar for the Independent.ie video interview.

Pienaar attended last year's summit in Johannesburg and was blown away by the energy and exuberance of the crowd.

"The crowd had this complete willingness to learn. I found their quest and hunger for knowledge was overwhelming, I became very emotional," he said. "It's really humbling to see what people do to make the world a better place."

Pienaar is best known for skippering the first South Africa team to win the World Cup.

The image of Nelson Mandela handing him the trophy has become an iconic image in South Africa. The sportsman said the impact Mandela had on him was profound.

"I was fortunate to touch greatness; I stood on a platform with one of the greatest leaders the world has ever seen.

"I was incredibly humbled to do that. And that is why the OYW asked me to act as a counsellor this year," he said.

Now in its fifth year, the summits have previously attracted such names as Bill Clinton, Richard Branson, Kofi Annan and Arianna Huffington as counsellors.

To commemorate the launch, a 42-foot mural, 'Looking for Leadership' by Irish artist Joe Caslin was unveiled above Trinity College Dublin's Nassau Street entrance yesterday.

The mural depicts a young man called Miguel looking toward Stephen's Green.

The piece is part of Caslin's 'Our Nation's Sons' project and is meant to act as a beacon, encouraging young leaders to build a brighter future.

The Irish bid committee beat off stiff competition from Hong Kong and Scotland. Independent News and Media is media partner for the event.

"This will be great for Dublin and great for Ireland – but it's up to us to showcase the country and open our arms to the brightest and most forward-thinking young delegates," Bob Coggins of the Dublin bid committee said.

see the full interview on independent.ie

Irish Independent

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