SI.com asked several current and retired SI writers to offer reflections on the best team they ever covered as sports journalists. Here's Ian Thomsen on the 1995 Rugby World Cup Champions, South Africa: I knew little about the sport when my boss at the International Herald Tribune, John Vinocur, said he wanted me to cover the month-long Rugby World Cup in 1995. Of the 65,000 people who would attend the championship final in Johannesburg, roughly 64,999 would know more about the game than me. But the game was only part of the larger story: This tournament would restore South Africa to the world stage after decades of isolation created by apartheid. That's why I think of the champion Springboks as the best and most important team I've ever covered.
As another Oscar season kicks into gear, Clint Eastwood returns with his annual contribution to Hollywood's self-esteem, in this case a solidly uplifting historical drama about President Nelson Mandela and South Africa's bid to win the Rugby World Cup in 1995.