Joost van der Westhuizen dies

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Former Springbok scrumhalf and captain Joost van der Westhuizen has died. He was 45.

 

Joost van der Westhuizen Picture: THE TIMES

This was confirmed on Monday by J9 Foundation‚ the organisation he helped establish to fight the disease‚ and a source at SA Rugby.

He was admitted to a Johannesburg hospital on Saturday morning. He was placed on life support after his key organs began to fail late on Friday as a result of the effects of motor neuron disease — a condition he was diagnosed with in 2011.

Van der Westhuizen had fought a public battle against the illness‚ which attacks the body’s neurons. The J9 foundation said he was “putting up an incredible fight” over the weekend.

“He really is our Superman!”

Van der Westhuizen is a former 1995 Rugby World Cup winner and in his heyday was regarded as the world’s greatest scrumhalf. At 1.88m tall and more than 90kg‚ he terrorised defences around the fringes of rucks. He earned 89 Test caps and scored 38 Test tries‚ a record that stood until Bryan Habana broke it at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Joost captained the Boks 10 times‚ which included the 1999 World Cup team‚ when South Africa finished third. He was also a winner at the 1995 World Cup‚ which the Springboks famously won 15-12 after extra time against the All Blacks at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.

The Real Rugby channel on YouTube described Joost as “The Fearless Champion” in a tribute video posted in 2016. See it here — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPoNYmZRrCg

This was confirmed on Monday by J9 Foundation‚ the organisation he helped establish to fight the disease‚ and a source at SA Rugby.

He was admitted to a Johannesburg hospital on Saturday morning. He was placed on life support after his key organs began to fail late on Friday as a result of the effects of motor neuron disease — a condition he was diagnosed with in 2011.

Van der Westhuizen had fought a public battle against the illness‚ which attacks the body’s neurons. The J9 foundation said he was “putting up an incredible fight” over the weekend.

“He really is our Superman!”

Van der Westhuizen is a former 1995 Rugby World Cup winner and in his heyday was regarded as the world’s greatest scrumhalf. At 1.88m tall and more than 90kg‚ he terrorised defences around the fringes of rucks. He earned 89 Test caps and scored 38 Test tries‚ a record that stood until Bryan Habana broke it at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Joost captained the Boks 10 times‚ which included the 1999 World Cup team‚ when South Africa finished third. He was also a winner at the 1995 World Cup‚ which the Springboks famously won 15-12 after extra time against the All Blacks at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.

The Real Rugby channel on YouTube described Joost as “The Fearless Champion” in a tribute video posted in 2016.

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