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South Africa Mourns the Loss of Rugby Legend Joost Van der Westhuizen

Joost van der Westhuizen has died at the age of 45 following a lengthy battle with motor neuron disease.

Rugby president Mark Alexander has paid tribute to the former scrumhalf, describing van der Westhuizen as one of the greatest Springbok players of all time.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”Joost will be remembered as one of the greatest Springboks – not only of his generation but of all time,” [/perfectpullquote]

said Alexander said.

“As a player, he lifted the Rugby World Cup, Tri-Nations, and Currie Cup while establishing himself as one of the best scrum-halves world rugby has ever seen.

“He was the record holder for the most Test tries for the Springboks for more than 13 years and finished his international career with 38 Test tries.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”He also became an inspiration and hero to many fellow sufferers of this terrible disease as well as to those unaffected.[/perfectpullquote]

“We all marveled at his bravery, his fortitude and his uncomplaining acceptance of this terrible burden.

“It’s a sad day for rugby in South Africa and across the globe as we say goodbye to a legend of the Springboks. Our condolences go to his family and friends at this sad, sad time.

“To lose a Springbok legend at such a young age is very sad, but his memory will never die. I salute you Joost on behalf of South African rugby.”

Van der lomu tackle1415911883375_wps_4_New_Zealand_winger_Jonah_

On his  famous tackle on Legend Jonah Lomu, Van der Westhuizen modestly told the BBC, “Everyone still talks to me about that tackle on Jonah Lomu in the 1995 World Cup final, but every time people mention it, I have to remind them about how I fell for Matt Dawson’s dummy in 1997.”  (Reuters)

Van der Westhuizen was capped 89 times and was also a member of the 1995 Springbok world cup winning team.

He scored 190 points (38 tries) in 89 tests, winning the Tri-Nations title in 1998 and two Currie cups (1998 and 2002).

The former scrumhalf spent his entire provincial career with the Blue Bulls spanning 10 years from 1993-2003 and it is where he retired.

Van der Westhuizen was inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame in London on 20 September 2015.



Featured photo: Van der Westhuizen will always be amongst South Africa’s sporting icons and is widely regarded as one of the greatest scrum-halves ever. (GETTY IMAGES)

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