Craig Chalmers mourns loss of ‘all-round good guy’ Chester Williams

Chester Williams was the only black player in South Africa's 1995 World Cup-winning side. Picture: Philip Littleton/AFP/Getty Images
Chester Williams was the only black player in South Africa's 1995 World Cup-winning side. Picture: Philip Littleton/AFP/Getty Images
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Scotland Grand Slam hero Craig Chalmers has been rocked by the sudden death last weekend of his friend and Springboks legend Chester Williams.

The winger, who was the only black player in the South Africa side that won the momentous World Cup in 1995, died suddenly of a suspected heart attack at the age of 49 on 6 September. Chalmers first played against Williams in 1994 when Scotland faced the Springboks for the first time since 1969 at Murrayfield, but got to know him better while working alongside him at the World Cup in England four years ago.

“I played against Chester but didn’t really know him well, he was a kind of quiet guy,” said Chalmers, 50. “But then I was involved with him doing corporate hospitality at the 2015 World Cup. I got to know him well, such a good guy and a great laugh. He liked a drink. He’d have his gin and tonics at the functions and claim it was water so we just called them ‘Chester Waters’ from then on in.

“He was a great character, some great stories and he was iconic because he was the only black player in that team of ’95 but you wouldn’t want that to define him, he was a fantastic player. An all-round good guy that everybody liked. I remember being with him at that famous game in Brighton when Japan beat the Springboks at the start of the last World Cup. He wasn’t too happy but soon got over it with some ‘Chester Waters’.”