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South Africa rugby hero Chester Williams dies aged 49

South Africa rugby hero Chester Williams dies aged 49”

Williams himself, however, had privately expressed reservations about a heart condition.

"Chester Williams had so much more to give".

Williams had almost not played in the World Cup having initially been left out of the squad because of injury.

As the sole black representative of that Springbok team, Williams quickly became one of the faces of the tournament alongside captain Francois Pienaar and South African president Nelson Mandela.

"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".

The passing of Williams follows just six weeks after the death of 1995 World Cup final teammate James Small, who also suffered a heart attack at the age of 50.

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

"Who will forget '95 when Chessie had such a massive impact on people, millions of South Africans?" said Paulse. But he was recalled for the quarter-final. He subsequently started the semi-final against France and in the final against New Zealand which South Africa won 15-12.

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But it almost did not happen as the Western Province wing was injured just before the event and was only brought back into the squad by coach Kitch Christie after Pieter Hendricks collected a suspension for his part in a fight in the "Battle of Boet Erasmus" pool match against Canada.

"Chester was quiet and when he got stressed he stuttered a bit", Stransky told South Africa's Sunday Times website.

"In 1995 he was thrust into the limelight but he took it all in his stride".

"He was a salt of the earth gentleman with great values".

Paarl-born Williams scored 14 tries in 27 Tests during an worldwide career that spanned seven years, ending in 2000.

After retiring in 2001 he coached the South African sevens team - known as the Blitzboks - and took in spells with the Ugandan and Tunisian national teams.

Just last week, Williams invited Cape Town media and members of the rugby community to the launch of a new business venture that saw him create his own brand of beer called Chester's Lager and IPA.

The team's legendary scrum half Joost van der Westhuizen died in February 2017, at the age of 45 after a six year battle with motor neuron disease.



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