The South African Rugby Legends Association has established a fundraising initiative in aid of James Small’s family following the veteran wing’s death.
Small passed away last Wednesday at the age of 50 after suffering a heart attack and was buried on Thursday following a funeral service at the Wanderers rugby club in Johannesburg. He is survived by his daughter (14) and son (nine).
Small was involved in SARLA’s rugby development and transformational activities with youth from previously disadvantaged communities, and on Friday it was announced that the organisation will assist his family financially following his untimely death.
‘I speak for all our rugby legends when I say that we were truly devastated to hear of James’ passing,’ SARLA president Gavin Vareje said.
‘I will never forget the enthusiasm he expressed when the Springboks were learning the lyrics of Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika and later, when during a visit to Robben Island, James visibly wept at Madiba’s [Nelson Mandela] ability to remain so compassionate following his prison term.’
SARLA chief executive, Stefan Terblanche, added that Small would always have a special place in the heart and history of South Africa’s rugby community, legends and fans.
‘Whilst James was often regarded with humour as our ‘bad boy’ due to his intense passion during a game, his passion was always equal in measure to the love he felt and expressed for his fellow man and in the pursuit of the transformation of rugby in South Africa,’ Terblanche said.
Details of the fundraising initiative will be shared on the screens at halftime during the Springboks match against Australia on Saturday at Ellis Park stadium.
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