Cape Town – The All Blacks have paid tribute to former Springbok wing James Small who passed away after a heart attack on Wednesday.
The sporting fraternity was shocked at the death of the 50-year-old who played 47 Tests for South Africa between 1992-1997, scoring 20 tries in the process.
Small was most famously part of the Springbok team that won the 1995 Rugby World Cup on home soil.
Small is the third member of that Springbok team to have died – loose forward Ruben Kruger died from brain cancer in 2010 and scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen from motor neurone disease in 2017.
In addition, coach Kitch Christie also passed away in 1998.
Small made his debut against the All Blacks on August 15, 1992 at Ellis Park in Johannesburg in a match the reigning world champions won 27-24.
On Wednesday the All Blacks took to Twitter to express their sadness at Small’s death, calling him a “fierce competitor on the field and a great friend off it“.
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The Wallabies also took to social media to convey their thoughts following the untimely tragedy.
We are saddened to learn that @Springboks great and 1995 @rugbyworldcup winner James Small has passed away. A fierce competitor on the field and great friend off it, James will be missed by the entire global rugby community.
Rest In Peace, legend.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) July 10, 2019
— Qantas Wallabies (@qantaswallabies) July 10, 2019