Captain of his country, Rugby Union's Francois Pienaar has won more than 30 caps for South Africa. This is his own story of how he grew up in a strong Afrikaner heartland to unite the new South Africa, the rainbow nation, in rugby and thus helped accelerate his country's acceptance onto the world stage following its emergence from the apartheid years.
Through drugs scandals, on the field flare-ups and rumours of illegal payments, Pienaar describes vividly how he captained his country to the 1995 World Cup and, with the help of Nelson Mandela, reversed the tarnished image of South African rugby. His was a central role in the arrival of professional rugby against the background of a bitter struggle between the world's leading media moguls to wrest control of television rights to southern hemisphere rugby. He went on to incur the wrath of his provincial club Transvaal, instigating a walkout of leading players demanding better pay, and was ostracised by the South African Rugby Board as the global game was threatening to be torn apart. Sensationally dropped from the South African side and driven into exile, Pienaar reveals the circumstance behind his surprise arrival at London-based Saracens as player-coach, where he sparked an extraordinary transformation of the club from a struggling second division outfit to one of the world's leading clubs in the English Premiership.
No one is better placed to propose solutions for the problems that continue to plague the game, the chasm between northern and southern hemisphere rugby, and the challenges of the new millennium. And no one's views will be more respected.