James Small One Of The Greats: Springbok Teammates

South African rugby legend James Small.
South African rugby legend James Small.

The Springbok squad of 1995 has paid tribute to James Small, who passed away following a heart attack on Wednesday.

The 50-year-old had been rushed to hospital in Johannesburg.

He was part of the team that lifted South Africa’s first Rugby World Cup trophy 24 years ago.

Small has been remembered fondly by his teammates as one of the greats of the game.

The winger was instrumental in the Springboks winning the coveted trophy on home soil and will be remembered for stopping the legendary Jonah Lomu from making an impact in the 1995 final.

Joel Stransky, who kicked the winning drop goal in that final, said it was devastating to hear of his passing.

“It’s a great loss for us as a group of friends that have been through so much together and its a great loss for his family and those close to him. Rugby has lost one of its legends, so it’s a very sad day.”

Mark Andrews, who played alongside Small‚ said the death came as a shock.

“He brought lots of interest into the game and into the professional game and he was a very special character in our side.”

Small is the fourth member of the Springboks squad from 1995 to pass away after coach Kitch Christie, Ruben Kruger and Joost van der Westhuizen.