Playing in a World Cup is the pinnacle for any rugby player but the quadrennial showpiece tournament has an even deeper significance for Romania centre Taylor Gontineac.
The 23-year-old’s parents met after his father Romeo, also a centre, played for Romania against his mother’s native South Africa in Cape Town at the 2015 World Cup.
“It’s a family history, my parents met after this match in South Africa in 1995 and I think if it wasn’t for that match I wouldn’t be here today,” he chuckled after getting his shot at playing the Springboks in Bordeaux on Sunday.
“It’s a nice little tribute for me and my family to play against South Africa, the world champions, more than 20 years after my dad. It’s fantastic and a wonderful feeling.”
Gontineac senior stayed on briefly in South Africa before playing club rugby for 14 years in France, where his son Taylor was born, raised and now plays for Rouen Normandie.
Although both lost to South Africa at their respective World Cups, Romeo Gontineac will retain some bragging rights as his Romania side went down only 21-8 at Newlands in 1995 while Taylor was on the wrong end of a 76-0 thrashing on Sunday.