James Small: South Africa World Cup-winning winger dies aged 50

South Africa World Cup winner James Small has died aged 50.

The former Springbok winger was taken to hospital on Tuesday after suffering a suspected heart attack.

Small played 47 Tests for South Africa, including the 1995 World Cup final win over New Zealand.

SA Rugby president Mark Alexander said he will have a “special place” in their “hearts and mind”, adding: “James died too young, we’re devastated to hear of his passing.”

Small was influential in keeping the rampant Jonah Lomu, who had scored four tries in the All Blacks’ semi-final win against England, at bay when the Springboks won their first World Cup in Johannesburg in 1995, a year after the end of Apartheid.

Known for his aggressive style of play, Small was the first South African to be sent off in a Test after being shown a red card against Australia in 1993.

He had numerous run-ins with opposition players, and sometimes his own team-mates, earning a reputation for his feisty personality that lived on after his career.

“James always played with the type of passion and courage that encapsulate what Springbok rugby stands for,” added Alexander.

“Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends during this very sad time.”

Small is the third member of the World Cup squad to pass away, after flanker Ruben Kruger and scrum-half Joost van der Westhuizen.

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