Rugby legend James Small was ahead of a SA vs Tonga test match / PICTURE: ANNE LAING/ SA v Tonga

DURBAN - A warrior on the field of play.

That's former Springbok and Sharks rugby legend James Small, 50 whose sudden death of a heart attack has sent shockwaves through the world of rugby today.

Spokesperson for the Cell C Sharks, Novashni Chetty said: "The Sharks join the South African rugby fraternity in mourning the loss of Springbok and Sharks legend James Small.

“He was a warrior on the field of play and represented both the Sharks and Springboks.

"We will never forget his role in the 1995 Rugby World Cup and his contribution to rugby as a whole. We send our condolences to his family."

Small played 47 test matches for the Springboks in the 1990s scoring 20 tries. A popular player among South African rugby fans, he also played for Western Province and the Lions (formerly Transvaal) at provincial level. 

The 50-year-old Small, who had been visiting Cape Town, lived with his daughter Ruby in Johannesburg and was on his way back home. The 14-year-old Ruby's mother and Small's former wife is the well-known actress and model Christina Storm.

Independent on Saturday