09 September 2019, by: Leonard Solms

THE BEST: CHESTER WILLIAMS

*This interview was conducted a week before the tragic passing of Springbok icon Chester Williams.*

This is the first edition of the new BET Central series called “The Best” where we talk with players, coaches, administrators on the best people they’ve played with or against, coached or worked alongside.

Springboks legend Chester Williams is many things, but predictable is not one. The trailblazing winger played an instrumental role in their 1995 Rugby World Cup win on home soil.

Few thought it possible at the time for a player of colour to have the impact Williams had, but he paved the way for many more to follow in his footsteps. He went on to have coaching stints the SA 7s and the Cats.

Now the head coach at the University of the Western Cape, Williams found time to look back on some of his rugby favourites in a predictably unpredictable exclusive interview with BET Central.

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Did you have a rugby hero while you were growing up?

Yes, my dad. I admired him. He played for the Proteas and he taught me all my principles in life: respect, trust and communication.

Who was the best coach you played under?

As a Junior, Dr Gerrit Pool — and as a senior, Dougie Dyers.

Who was the best player you played with?

The best player I played with was Jerome Paarwater. He was a great leader and I understand the role he played at Western Province.

Who was your toughest opponent (player)?

Joe Roff and David Campese. They were very unpredictable, experienced and skilful.

What was the best try you scored for the Springboks?

The try against the All Blacks [in 2000] at Ellis Park where we won [46-40].

Who is the best player you’ve coached?

Jean De Villiers, Brent Russell, and Herschel Jantjies — who I’ve coached for UWC. Tristan Leyds and Kurt-Lee Arendse too at university level.

Who do you rate as the top five wings in world rugby right now?

Aphiwe Dyantyi, George Bridge, George North, Damian Penaud and Rieko Ioane.

If you could pick an XV made up of rugby players from anywhere in the world past and present, who make the cut?

15. Andre Joubert
14. David Campese
13. Tana Umaga
12. Tim Horan
11. Jonah Lomu
10. Daniel Carter
9. Joost Van Der Westhuizen

8. Zinzan Brooke
7. Viliami Ofahengaue
6. Richie McCaw
5. RG Snyman
4. Bakkies Botha
3. Carl Hayman
2. Phil Kearns
1. Os Du Randt

What is the best rugby advice you’ve ever been given?

Dougie Dyers said, “Be yourself and enjoy what you doing” and I think that was great advice.

I also can’t forget the advice which Nelson Mandela gave us at the 1995 World Cup final: “Go out there and make us proud.”

Who do you think will win the 2019 Rugby World Cup?

This year, I’m going for either South Africa or England.

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