Cape Town - Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa has paid tribute to former Springbok wing James Small, who passed away on Wednesday.
Mthethwa, who is currently in Liverpool supporting the Proteas at the Netball World Cup was shocked by the news.
“James Small was not just a legend but one of those great players which their names will be written in our history of sports," said Mthethwa.
"He was one of those who were instrumental alongside the class of 95 in fostering social cohesion and nation building. We would never forget the role that the 1995 Springboks Rugby team played in breaking down the racial boundaries and making us one nation with one objective. This class of 95 inclusive of James Small, stood alongside our former statesman ‘Tata’ Nelson Mandela and demonstrated the importance of sport in eradicating racism and discrimination," he concluded.
Small made his debut for the Springboks against New Zealand in Johannesburg in 1992 and played in 47 Tests until 1997.
He scored 20 Test tries, with the last of those in his final match in the Green and Gold, against Scotland - a try which, at that stage, broke Danie Gerber's Test record.
In total, Small donned the Green and Gold 60 times, scoring 27 tries. He played Tests against New Zealand, Australia, Western Samoa, Fiji, France, Italy, Romania, England, Scotland, Argentina and the British & Irish Lions.