Francois Pienaar

Indeed, the two men forged a friendship during the World Cup when Mandela appeared on the presentation rostrum wearing a Springbok jersey with Francois’ number on the back.

Francois was appointed captain on his first international appearance, against France in 1993, and is now the most capped South African captain and arguably the world’s most popular one.  Alongside Francois’ playing talents, his debt management skills, charisma and leadership abilities have enabled him to achieve God-like status in a country where rugby is a religion.  He has proved himself an inspirational leader and is one of the few men on earth who can genuinely claim to have united South Africa behind a common cause.

Francois’ skills in diplomacy were a clear feature in South Africa’s passage from isolation to acclamation on the world rugby stage.  A trained lawyer, Francois is an eloquent and articulate spokesman who is often quoted on a wide range of issues form rugby to business and from journalism to politics.

Having played a vital role for both his province and his country, Francois became player-coach of the struggling north London club Saracens.  With him at the helm, Saracens' form underwent a dramatic transformation.  Pienaar eventually retired as a player and took over as Saracens CEO in 2000.  The club ended the 2000/2001 Premiership season in fifth place, but the following year was less successful and with Saracens facing relegation Francois stepped down as coach and CEO, sensing that the club would benefit from a fresh perspective.

Away from rugby, Pienaar published an autobiography, Rainbow Warrior (1999), and regularly speaks on leadership, motivation and teamwork.

Francois is an accomplishe Professional, Motivational and After Dinner Speaker