'Chessie was a gentleman,' says Joel Stransky
Former Springbok flyhalf Joel Stransky described Chester Williams as a “salt of the earth gentleman with great values”.
Williams, 49, died of a heart attack on Friday.
Stransky and Williams both played integral parts during the 1995 World Cup in South Africa, which the Springboks won.
“My first interaction with ‘Chessie’ was in 1993 when we toured Australia,” Stransky told TimesLIVE. “There were a few of us on our first tour and Chester, I and Tinus Linee [who died of motor neuron disease in 2014] were initiated on the same night after a midweek game.
“That was the first time I got to chat to Chester and get to know him a little bit better. A year later I moved to Cape Town to play for WP and got to know him a whole lot better.
“He was a salt of the earth gentleman with great values. He was just a really good human being.
“In those early days when he was the only black player in the squad it felt normal to have Chester as part of your friendship circle. He was so warm and gentle.
“My heart really goes out to Maria and the children. They will be devastated but we are keeping them close in our thoughts and prayers.
“Chester was quiet and when he got stressed he stuttered a bit. In 1995 he was thrust into the limelight, but he took it all in his stride.
“He was a great player even though he wasn’t the most skilful. There were others with more talent and skill but he worked so hard at his game to make himself a better player. As a result he got some major accolades and he deserved them.”
Williams made his Springbok Test debut against Argentina in 1993 and played 27 Tests for South Africa until his last Test, against Wales in 2000, scoring 14 Test tries in the process. In total, he played 47 matches in the green and gold and scored 27 tries.
Wife, Maria and three children, Ryan and twins Matthew and Chloe, survive Williams.