One thing that really stood out to me was how well the tournament was organised. I remember the Special Forces riding us through all the Paris traffic; everyone really looking after us. I remember every team even had their own train whenever you travelled!
What would be your favourite moment from the 2007 tournament?
That England game in the Pool Stages when we beat them 36-0 was pretty special.
But of course [my favourite moment], would be winning the World Cup.
The real moment that stands out for me was the Sunday after the Final. We were about eight guys, and we went to a function right in front of the Eiffel Tower, and we sat outside and just had that feeling of, “We’ve done this! We’ve worked for four years and now we’ve done it. We’re World Champions!” That feeling right there in front of the Eiffel Tower- I can’t even explain.
What changes- good or bad- have you noticed about rugby in the past 16 years?
The players are getting more and more athletic and fitter, and the game is getting faster every year.
The one thing that is a worry for me is all the red cards and the yellow cards. I would love to see XV on XV all the time.
How has rugby shaped your life over the previous years?
For a long time rugby was my life and I had to plan everything around it. But it gave me opportunities to show my family the world, and for me to experience different things.
I grew up in the countryside of South Africa, so to go all over the world and to see other view[points] outside South Africa, was fantastic.
After I retired, I took all of what I had learnt and took it into the business world.
Thoughts on the upcoming World Cup?
I think it’s going to be one of the closest World Cups. There are probably five teams that can win this. It’s going to be a great event and I hope everyone takes everything in and enjoys the moment.
Be on the lookout for Larissa’s next edition or Rugby World Cup Anniversaries.