VIDEO: B&I Lions targeted James Small
SPOTLIGHT: Springbok legend James Small had a big target on his back when the British and Irish Lions toured South Africa in 1997.
The B&I Lions social media account have re-released some of the footage of the pre-game analysis leading up to the touring side’s match with Western Province in 1997.
The brilliant Small is the focus of much of the pre-match discussion while squad captain Martin Johnson is to the fore in the pre-match preparation with intense words at the hotel and a fiery speech just before the team takes the field.
Tragically of course, Small died in 2019 after suffering a heart attack, aged just 50. He was 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). A few months later teammate Chester Williams passed away, sadly becoming the fifth Springbok from the famous team to do so.
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 against Scotland – a try which at that stage broke Danie Gerber’s Test record.
In total, Small donned the South African jersey 60 times, scoring 27 tries. He played Tests against New Zealand, Australia, Western Samoa, Fiji, France, Italy, Romania, England, Scotland, Argentina and the British and Irish Lions.
“For all of us, there’s going to be a little tingle in the spine when we see those red jerseys run out onto the rugby playing fields of South Africa….”
23 years ago this week the ’97 Lions kicked off the Tour of South Africa – this is the first jersey presentation of the Tour! pic.twitter.com/AT3Ybu5J3U
— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) May 28, 2020