Cape Town - Former captain Francois Pienaar believes that the weekend's Rugby World Cup victory by the Springboks is bigger than the 1995 success.

24 years ago, Pienaar led the 1995 team that defeated New Zealand 15-12 at Ellis Park to lift the trophy for the first time.

Pienaar was handed the Webb Ellis Cup by the late President Nelson Mandela which has become one of sport's most powerful images.

This past weekend, Siya Kolisi led the Springboks to their third World Cup title as they defeated England in the final at Yokohama.

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Pienaar, who watched the Springboks triumph in Japan, hailed Kolisi and insisted that Saturday's victory was far more significant.

"This is bigger. This is bigger because it is a transformed team, 58 million people watching in South Africa yesterday morning, and all races would have woken up wearing green, which wouldn't have happened in my time," Pienaar told The Guardian.

"It has evolved from my time. We had an incredible moment with Mr Mandela but just the support from the nation for this team and captain.

"Seeing South Africa in the final, Siya Kolisi, the first black captain of South African rugby in his 50th game, his dad flying for the first time in his life to watch his son play. Wow. You don't get more emotion than that," he said.

The Springboks are now the world's No 1 team, according to the latest World Rugby rankings.

Compiled by Lynn Butler