James Small passes away in Cape Town

Tanya Simon
July 12, 2019

Small, who died in Cape Town on Wednesday, was praised for his performance in the World Cup final, where his courageous tackles on giant New Zealand winger Jonah Lomu helped the Boks to a surprise victory at Ellis Park.

Former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen branded Small his childhood "rugby hero", while World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper also added his condolences.

He died in hospital in Johannesburg and was planning to make his way home to his 14-year-old daughter Ruby.

"The ANC conveys its heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and the entire sporting world".

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Small, the so-called bad boy of rugby, made his Test debut for the Springboks in 1992 against New Zealand. Loose forward Ruben Kruger died from brain cancer in 2010 and scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen from motor neuron disease in 2017. Our deepest sympathies go out to the family, friends and the Springboks'.

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.

"James, as a member of the triumphant Rugby 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 South Africa rugby president Mark Alexander. On social media, South Africans sports icons like Herschelle Gibbs, Ryk Neethling and Kobus Wiese paid their respects to Small.

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