Springboks legend Chester Williams dies aged 49

David Rogers / Allsport

Springboks legend Chester Williams has died at the age of 49, SA Rugby has confirmed.

Williams, who played on the wing in South Africa's 1995 World Cup winning side, died suddenly of a heart attack in Cape Town on Friday.

He played 27 Tests for the Springboks in a career between 1993 and 2000, scoring 14 tries in that time.

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

"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."

It is for his role in the 1995 World Cup final against New Zealand that he is best remembered. He was the only black player in the team that won the Webb Ellis Cup in front of a home crowd at Eden Park.

Williams also won the Tri-Nations with the Springboks in 1998 and was named South African Rugby Player of the Year in 1994.

After his retirement from the game, Williams coached the South African Sevens side and also took charge of the Ugandan and Tunisian rugby union sides and Super Rugby's Cats before most recently taking the role of head coach at the University of the Western Cape, winning the Varsity Cup in 2017.

The news comes months after the death of James Small, who started on the opposite flank to Williams in the 1995 World Cup final. He also died of a heart attack.