[LISTEN] Jean de Villiers: Small's passing a massive loss

[LISTEN] Jean de Villiers: Small's passing a massive loss

Former Springbok captain Jean De Villiers has described the death of James Small as a massive loss for rugby.


The 50-year-old former Springbok winger passed away in a hospital in Johannesburg on Wednesday morning.


Small was part of the team’s victorious Rugby World Cup campaign in 1995.


His international debut was against the All Blacks in 1992 and he made his final appearance against Scotland in 1997.

ALSO READ: Former Springbok winger James Small passes away

In the final test match, he scored his 20th try, becoming the leading Springbok try scorer, eclipsing Danie Gerber's record.


De Villiers - who started his career at wing - says the news is difficult to digest.


"A lot of us grew up with James as a hero and one of the guys who changed the mould in terms of a rugby player.


"It is never easy to deal with, I suppose with something or someone like him it hits home and it hasn't sunk in yet."

An emotional Rudolph Straeuli, who played with Small, says the 1995 Rugby World Cup team has lost a brother.


"We lost a brother and it's sad at the moment. I mean we're speechless. We thinking of the family and at the moment it is actually difficult to relay the message.


"James was just a brave character, unbelievable personality with a lot of energy."

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