Rugby World Cup 2019: Springboks legend Chester Williams dies aged 49

Former South Africa international and 1995 Rugby World Cup winner Chester Williams has died, at the age of 49.   

South African reports say Williams had complained about a pain in his chest on Friday afternoon, after a gym session.

He was rushed to hospital in Cape Town, but passed away on arrival. 

News of Williams' death came on the day South Africa beat Japan 41-7 in their final World Cup warm-up match, before this year's tournament.

"The news of Chester's passing is devastating and hard to believe, as he was still young and seemingly in good health," said SA Rugby president Mark Alexander.

"Chester was a true pioneer in South African rugby and his performances at the World Cup in 1995, as a snapshot of his Springbok career, will forever be etched in the hearts and minds of our rugby public.

"As a member of the Springbok class of 1995, Chester was not only well known in the rugby fraternity, but he was a much-loved South African, whose influence stretched wider than just the rugby world.

"He was passionate about rugby and South Africa, and as coach at various levels, selflessly gave back to the game, after he hung up his boots. He played with courage, and was a beacon of light in his community and in the broader South African context.

"Chester Williams had so much more to give. Our thoughts and condolences are with his wife, Maria, his children, family and friends during this very sad time."

Williams made his Springboks debut against Argentina in 1993 and played 27 tests for South Africa, until his last test against Wales in 2000, scoring 14 test tries in the process. 

In total, he played 47 matches in the green-and-gold and scored 27 tries.

He is the fifth member of the Springboks squad from 1995 to pass away, after coach Kitch Christie, flanker Ruben Kruger, halfback Joost van der Westhuizen and wing James Small, who passed away two months ago.


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