Nelson Mandela's (Morgan Freeman's) release from prison and his ascent to a democratically elected President of South Africa marks a radical change in the country. This change away from Apartheid will not be easy for anyone in the country, but Mandela has to figure out how to galvanize the residents of the country together. Because of his love of the game, Mandela places his support behind the Springboks, the national rugby team. South Africa is hosting the 1995 Rugby World Cup, that being the only reason the Springboks are even competing in the tournament as its years on the sideline of world rugby events has not made it world ranked. The Springboks were previously considered the team of white South Africa, and as such was denounced by Mandela when he was in prison. But he does whatever he can to make it the team of all South Africa. He needs the support of the Springboks and its Captain, Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon) to achieve his unrealistic goal of the Springboks winning the World Cup, even against such rugby powerhouses the All-Blacks representing New Zealand. Mandela tries to inspire Pienaar to lead by example, much like Mandela has. Beyond Mandela's dream, his racially mixed security team has the added pressure of protecting him at the Springboks' matches while he places himself in potentially unprotectable situations.