Springbok rugby’s most celebrated rebel James Small has died.
Small turned 50 in February.
It has been reported that Small died of a heart attack.
The former winger was part of South Africa’s World Cup winning squad in 1995.
He emerged as one of the team’s heroes for his courageous tackling of behemoth All Blacks winger Jonah Lomu.
Small‚ due to his outspoken nature‚ often courted controversy.
He was the first Springbok to be sent off in 1993 when English referee Ed Morrison (who two years later also refereed the World Cup final against New Zealand) banished Small from the field in a Test against Australia in 1993.
He wore his heart on his sleeve and was involved in some stormy relationships.
Above all‚ however‚ Small was a wholehearted rugby player who played in 47 Tests scoring 20 tries.
The former Greenside High pupil represented Transvaal at Craven Week in Paarl in 1987‚ their U20 team before graduating to their senior ranks.
He went on to represent Natal before joining Western Province where he won the Currie Cup under Harry Viljoen in 1997.
Small‚ a sprinter and part time model in his youth‚ made his Test debut in South Africa’s first Test following their readmission to international rugby against the All Blacks in 1992.
He played his last Test in 1997 when the Springboks beat Scotland at Murrayfield.
More recently he was involved in coaching roles at club level.
More to follow…..