The Springbok team will carry the image of 1995 Rugby World Cup winner, Chester Williams, on their jersey in Saturday’s Pool B opener against New Zealand in Yokohama.
Williams was a shining star of the Springboks’ 1995 campaign but passed away suddenly from a heart attack in Cape Town two weeks ago. He was 49.
Williams’ image has been embedded into the playing number on the team’s jerseys, along with those of the current squad and fans who sent in selfies to have their images carried into the match on the backs of the players.
Williams was the only black player in a team representing a country that had enjoyed democratic elections for the first time only the year before.
South African rugby followers since unity have grown up living with the legend of the 1995 World Cup winners and of the special place that Williams had in the team.
South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus played with Williams in Springbok and provincial teams and knew him well.
“Chester didn’t like being the centre of attention,” said Erasmus. “He never bragged about his role or expected anything for it but he would have enjoyed being part of a Springbok/All Black Test match once more, I think.”