Williams was a world-class finisher on the left wing whose rich understanding of the game made him as reliable on defence as he was lethal on attack. Chester made his debut against Argentina in Buenos Aires on November 13, 1993 and in doing so became the first non-white player to don the Springbok jersey since Errol Tobias in the early 1980s.
“The Black Pearl” as he was dubbed immediately displayed his attacking capabilities by scoring a try on debut and went on to score a phenomenal 13 tries in his first 16 Tests. After missing the pool stages of the 1995 World Cup, Chester was dramatically called-up in place of Pieter Hendriks who was banned for the remainder of the competition for his part in the wild punch-up against Canada.
The decision fuelled speculation that Chester was merely a political pawn but he soon silenced such suggestions when he scored four tries in the quarter-final clash against Western Samoa. Williams went on to play in the semi-final against France and the historic final against New Zealand.
Knee injuries hampered his international career in 1996 and 1997 but Williams worked himself back into the Springbok squad in 1998 and played two cameos off the bench in the Boks’ maiden Tri-Nations winning campaign.
He missed the 1999 World Cup but won nine caps in 2000. His last game for the Springboks came in the 23-13 win over Wales in Cardiff on November 26, 2000 and he retired from all forms of rugby a year later.
Chester’s contribution to South African rugby was more than simply his on-field achievements – he single-handedly changed the perception of rugby being a ‘white man’s game’ and became an icon and inspiration to rugby players in the rural areas of the Republic.
Records/Honours:Member of the World Cup winning Springbok squad, 1995Currie Cup winner with Western Province, 1997Tri-Nations winner, 1998Currie Cup winner with the Lions, 1999