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Bok Small dead at 50

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Springbok World Cup winner James Small has passed away at the age of 50

South Africa’s legendary 1995 World Cup winners have lost another member after it was revealed that James Small has passed away at the age of 50.

The former winger 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 (scrum-half).

Kruger died from brain cancer in 2010 and van der Westhuizen from motor neuron disease in 2017. Christie passed away in 1998 as a result of his prolonged battled with leukaemia.

SA Rugby president Mark Alexander passed on his condolences to Small’s family and friends. “As a member of the triumphant World Cup squad from 1995, James 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.

“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 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.

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 an assistant coach.

WATCH: Episode three of the RugbyPass Rugby Explorer series where Jim Hamilton explores South African rugby

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Springbok World Cup winner James Small has passed away at the age of 50