RIP James Small
NEWS: The legends of 1995 have lost another member of their famous club.
It was revealed on Wednesday that ex-Springbok wing James Small has passed away, at the age of 50.
Small was rushed to hospital in Johannesburg on Tuesday night after suffering from a suspected heart attack.
He played 47 Tests for the Springboks between 1992 and 1997 and was a key member of the legendary World Cup-winning 1995 squad.
Small is the fourth member of the Springbok squad from 1995 to pass away, after Kitch Christie (coach), Ruben Kruger (flank) and Joost van der Westhuizen (scrumhalf).
Ruben Kruger died from brain cancer in 2010 and Joost van der Westhuizen from motor neuron disease in 2017.
Christie passed away in 1998 as a result of his prolonged battled with leukaemia.
Mark Alexander, President of SA Rugby, passed on his condolences to Small’s family and friends.
“James, as a member of the triumphant World Cup squad from 1995, will always have a special place in the hearts and minds of the South African public and we were devastated to hear of his passing,” said Alexander.
“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. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends during this very sad time.”
Small made his debut for the Springboks against New Zealand in Johannesburg in 1992 and played in 47 Tests until 1997. He scored 20 Test tries, with the last of those in his final match in the Green and Gold, against Scotland – a try which, at that stage, broke Danie Gerber’s Test record.
In total, Small donned the Green and Gold 60 times, scoring 27 tries. He played Tests against New Zealand, Australia, Western Samoa, Fiji, France, Italy, Romania, England, Scotland, Argentina and the British & Irish Lions.
In his provincial career, Small played for the Golden Lions (then Transvaal), Sharks (then Natal) and Western Province, appearing in Currie Cup finals for all three sides and lifting the coveted golden cup in the colours of the Sharks and WP, but never with the Golden Lions.
In recent years, Small turned to coaching, and assisted Robert du Preez at NWU-Pukke and the Leopards before joining Pirates in Johannesburg as assistant coach.
Further details will follow, but the family requested privacy at this very sad time.
Gary Teichmann, The Sharks CEO, said he was fortunate to have played with and known James.
“James was a great team man and friend,” Teichman said.
“I will always cherish the memories we shared both on and off the field.
“Our sincere condolences are extended to his children and the entire Small family on their sad loss.”
* Additional information from @Springboks & SA Rugby