Springbok great James Small was reportedly found "naked and unresponsive" in a sex club shortly before he died of a suspected heart attack in Johannesburg last week.

The former test winger, who represented South Africa 47 times including in the 1995 World Cup final where he was iconic All Black Jonah Lomu's opposite number, died on
Wednesday (NZT) at the age of 50.

According to Rapport, a naked and unconscious Small, 50, was rushed to a hospital in the suburb of Bedfordview by an unknown couple.

According to the report, police were called by hospital staff when the couple refused to sign their names into a register. A third man later arrived with some of Small's possessions - including his mobile phone, laptop and wallet - and reportedly got into an altercation with hospital staff and police.


A close friend of Small, who wished to remain anonymous, told the newspaper three withdrawals of R1000.00 ($107.00) each were made on the night of Small's death, the last only 30 minutes before his arrival at the hospital.

According to the source, Small had collapsed at The Harem, an "upmarket gentleman's club" a little over a kilometre away from the hospital.

James Small consoles Jonah Lomu after the 1995 Rugby World Cup final in Johannesburg. Photo / Getty Images
James Small consoles Jonah Lomu after the 1995 Rugby World Cup final in Johannesburg. Photo / Getty Images

The Harem is advertised as "the most vibrant and classy gentlemen's Club in town, offering a range of services – including "a lesbian experience" and "BDSM".

Small is believed to have collapsed at the club and was taken to hospital by staff members.

Police spokesperson Capt. Mavela Masondo confirmed to Rapport that although Small's death wasn't being treated as suspicious, authorities were investigating "to determine if any crime was committed".

Family members refused to comment when approached by Rapport.

In early 2001 Small was admitted to a Cape Town hospital after reportedly suffering a nervous breakdown.

Only months earlier, Small and his model girlfriend Christina Storm hit the headlines after a well-publicised break-up which led to Small confessing he assaulted her.