Another Springbok class of '95 hero lost

File: James Small greets Joost van der Westhuizen during an event celebrating the 20th anniversary of the epic 1995 Rugby World Cup on June 24, 2015 at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, South Africa.

File: James Small greets Joost van der Westhuizen during an event celebrating the 20th anniversary of the epic 1995 Rugby World Cup on June 24, 2015 at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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JOHANNESBURG - James Small is the fourth member of the iconic 1995 Rugby World Cup-winning Springbok camp that has passed away.

The SA rugby fraternity has lost former coach Kitch Christie, Ruben Kruger, and Joost van der Westhuizen.

READ: Former Springboks player James Small has died

The Springboks won their first Rugby World Cup title on 24 June 1995, beating New Zealand's All Blacks 15-12 at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg.

Springbok skipper Francois Pienaar held aloft the Webb Ellis Cup in the presence of the then SA president Nelson Mandela, who donned the green and gold Bok jersey, with the number 6 on the back, before a jubilant crowd of South African rugby fans.

South African president Nelson Mandela, dressed in a No 6 Springbok jersey, congratulates the Springbok captain Francois Pienaar after South Africa beat the All Blacks by 15-12 to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

File: South African president Nelson Mandela, dressed in a No 6 Springbok jersey, congratulates the Springbok captain Francois Pienaar after South Africa beat the All Blacks by 15-12 to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
 

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James Small 1969-2019

Small, a winger who played a pivotal role in keeping All Black star Jonah Lomu at bay during the final, died suddenly from a heart attack at the age of 50 last week.

The former Sharks (Natal) player made his debut for the Springboks against New Zealand in Johannesburg in 1992 and played in 47 Tests until 1997.

“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 President of SA Rugby Mark Alexander.

READ: Former Springboks player James Small has died

“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.”

The 1995 Rugby World Cup, won by the Springboks. Celebrating are Joel Stransky, James Small, Balie Swart, Andre Joubert, Chris Rossouw and Hannes Strydom.

File: The 1995 Rugby World Cup, won by the Springboks. Celebrating are Joel Stransky, James Small, Balie Swart, Andre Joubert, Chris Rossouw and Hannes Strydom.

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Joost van der Westhuizen 1971-2017

Joost van der Westhuizen died in February of 2017 just short of his 46th birthday.

The former Springbok No.9 had battled with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - the most severe form of the neurodegenerative illness called motor neuron disease (MND), for six years.

Many rugby commentators, writers, and experts consider Van der Westhuizen the greatest scrumhalf ever to play for the Springboks.

File: Joost van der Westhuizen of South Africa passes the ball during a pool stage match against Australia in the Rugby World Cup at Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa, 25th May 1995. South Africa won the match 27-18.

File: Joost van der Westhuizen of South Africa passes the ball during a pool stage match against Australia in the Rugby World Cup at Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa, 25th May 1995. South Africa won the match 27-18.

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Characterised as ultra-competitive and tenacious as a scrum-half, Joost van der Westhuizen’s legendary rugby career will not soon be forgotten.

Standing at 1,85m tall, he without a doubt changed the scrumhalf position and made it his own in every way.

READ: Joost: The legacy of a champion

His ability to stay low to the ground and find gaps in opposition defences is unparalleled and he deserves being hailed as the best scrum-half in SA Rugby history.

Image removed.Joost donned the green and gold 89 times for South Africa throughout his career and famously played a vital role in the Springboks 1995 World Cup win.

File: South African rugby player Ruben Kruger (1970 - 2010, centre) is tackled during an international against New Zealand, Durban, 17th August 1996. New Zealand won the match 23-19.

File: South African rugby player Ruben Kruger (1970 - 2010, centre) is tackled during an international against New Zealand, Durban, 17th August 1996. New Zealand won the match 23-19.

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Ruben Kruger 1970-2010

Ruben Kruger played for the Springboks from 1993-1999.

During the 1995 Rugby World Cup tournament, he made 5 starts and crossed the try line against France in the semi-final against  France in Durban.

Kruger also featured at the 1999 tournament.

READBoks win 2007 Rugby World Cup

The former Cheetahs and Blue Bulls player was named SA's player of the year in 1995.

Kruger died in January of  2010 after a long battle with cancer.

Kitch Christie, was a South African rugby union coach best known for coaching the country's national team, the Springboks, to victory at the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

Kitch Christie, was a South African rugby union coach best known for coaching the country's national team, the Springboks, to victory at the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

Gallo Images

Kitch Christie 1940-1998

Kitch Christie managed a 14-game long winning streak as coach of the Springboks including the 1995 world cup triumph

Christie succumbed to cancer in 1998.

READ: 'Beast' puts body and soul on line for World Cup

The 1995 Springbok team are still celebrated and admired to this day.

The Springboks won the World Cup again in 2007 under coach Jake White and captain John Smit.

Then Springbok captain John Smit holds the William Webb Ellis trophy as he shakes hands with then South African president Thabo Mbeki after the World Cup final match England vs. South Africa, 20 October 2007 at the Stade de France in Paris.

Then Springbok captain John Smit holds the William Webb Ellis trophy as he shakes hands with then South African president Thabo Mbeki after the World Cup final match England vs. South Africa, 20 October 2007 at the Stade de France in Paris.

Bok captain Siya Kolisi (L) is tackled by Scotland's scrum-half Greig Laidlaw (C) and Scotland's flanker Hamish Watson (R) during the test match between Scotland and South Africa.

Bok captain Siya Kolisi (L) is tackled by Scotland's scrum-half Greig Laidlaw (C) and Scotland's flanker Hamish Watson (R) during the test match between Scotland and South Africa.

AFP

The new generation of Springboks will kick off their 2019 Rugby World Cup campaign against the All Blacks in Japan on Saturday, 21 September.

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