Springbok World Cup winner James Small dies aged 50

Springbok legend James Small celebrates winning the 1995 Rugby World Cup. (Gallo)

Springbok legend James Small celebrates winning the 1995 Rugby World Cup. (Gallo)

Former South African winger James Small, a member of the celebrated 1995 World Cup winning squad, died suddenly on Wednesday of a heart attack at the age of 50.

Small was famed for keeping rampant Jonah Lomu at bay when South Africa won the World Cup final in Johannesburg, a historic moment for the country just a year after the end of white-minority apartheid rule.

A statement from SA Rugby said Small had been rushed to hospital Johannesburg on Tuesday night.

Mark Alexander, president of SA rugby, said Small would “always have a special place in the hearts and minds of the South African public”.

“We were devastated to hear of his passing,” he added. “He always played with the type of passion and courage that encapsulate what Springbok rugby stands for, and he lived his life in the same way.

“At 50 years old, James Small died too young.”

Small made his debut for the Springboks against New Zealand in Johannesburg in 1992 and played in 47 Tests until 1997, scoring 20 Test tries.

He later coached domestic sides.

Small was the third member of the World Cup squad to pass away, after flank Ruben Kruger and scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen.

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© Agence France-Presse

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