Passing of the torch: Paulse remembers 'smiling Bok' Williams

Breyton Paulse (left) and Chester Williams (Gallo Images).
Breyton Paulse (left) and Chester Williams (Gallo Images).

Cape Town - In 2000, Breyton Paulse and Chester Williams started three Springbok Tests together on opposite wings. 

It was a passing of the torch, of sorts. 

Williams, who had won the 1995 World Cup on home soil, was nearing the end of his Bok career while Paulse was just starting out. 

The Boks won two of those three matches, winning against the All Blacks (Johannesburg) and Argentina (Buenos Aires) while losing to the Wallabies (Durban). During those matches Williams and Paulse scored a combined three tries - Williams scoring two and Paulse one. 

Williams would play the last of his 27 Test matches later that year, while Paulse would go on to represent his country 64 times. 

Speaking to Sport24 at Williams' memorial services at the University of the Western Cape's (UWC) Bellville campus on Wednesday, Paulse opened up on the impact Williams had on him during his early Springbok years. 

Williams died suddenly last week after suffering a suspected heart attack.

"I was very lucky to spend time with Chessie when I started my professional career," Paulse said. 

"The inspiration and motivation that he was for me as a person goes a very long way and it's something I will never forget."

Paulse, like so many others in attendance on Wednesday, said that Williams' influence reached far beyond the rugby field.

"It's the character he was," Paulse said.

"He always had time for his neighbour and made time for kids.

"He always laughed ... I call him the smiling Springbok and it shows you the character of the man."

Paulse and the rest of South Africa looked on as Williams and the Boks broke barriers by winning the 1995 World Cup on home soil. 

"At a time when South Africa needed somebody like Chessie, I really feel he was somebody sent from above in 1995 to help unite our country with the 1995 brothers," said Paulse.

"We will be forever grateful for that.

"We need to celebrate his life and make sure his legacy lives forever."

Paulse will remember the advice and the smiles of one of his closest friends, but he will also remember some rather heated exchanges on the golf course. 

"I got very competitive ... I used to shout at him and tell him he needed to lift his game," Paulse recalls.

"He always laughed. That was his character ... very calm under pressure.

"We're going to miss him, because he's always been that person there for everybody."

Williams' funeral service will take place at Newlands on Saturday from 12:00.

 

Chester Williams (left) and Breyton Paulse share a

Chester Williams (left) and Breyton Paulse share a golfing moment (Gallo Images). 

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