Meet the South Coast’s biggest Joost fan

2017-03-02 06:00
Local sports editor, Quintin van Jaarsveld, talks about the role Joost van der Westhuizen played in his life.PHOTO: supplied

Local sports editor, Quintin van Jaarsveld, talks about the role Joost van der Westhuizen played in his life.PHOTO: supplied

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SPORTS editor and journalist, Quintin van Jaarsveld­, not only writes about sport, but eats, sleeps and breaths it too. Of all the sports he has a vast knowledge of, rugby tops his list. Van Jaarsveld chatted to Fever journalist, Candyce Krishna, about his love for rugby and the greater love he had for Joost van der Westhuizen.

CK: Rugby has always played a big role in your life. Where, when and how did it all start?

QVJ: I started playing rugby at six or seven at Suid-Natal Primary. My brother Jacques and I are both sports mad and did just about every sport growing up, but rugby was our main passion and like most South African youngsters, we dreamt of one day playing for the Springboks.

CK: Were you involved in rugby at school and outside of school as well and name a couple of highlights.

QVJ: I played A-team and first team rugby throughout school. After finishing matric, I decided to combine my passion for sport and rugby with my passion for writing. I started out at SARugby.com where I worked my way up to editor-in-chief. I was a senior staff writer at rugby365.com and the sports editor at the Fever. I’m now the sports editor at eHowzit.co.za.

CK: When did Joost become your hero­?

QVJ: He started coming into his own for the Boks in 1994 and really established himself as a star in the ‘95 World Cup, so it’s around that time, when I was 11 or 12, that he became my hero. That’s when I decided to focus on the scrum-half position and do extra training.

CK: Why do you look up to the sports star so much?

QVJ: As a young schoolboy, you idolise sports stars because they seem like larger-than-life super athletes. That wanes when you reach high school, but Joost definitely played a big role in shaping my rugby career.

CK: Are there any similarities between your rugby hero and you?

QVJ: Unfortunately, our life stories have a lot of similarities. We were both pretty arrogant and were struck down by tragedy. As sportsmen, it’s especially difficult to deal with a life-changing catastrophe because it robs you of your identity. However, it seems like it brought both of us closer to God.

CK: When you played rugby, how did Joost’s sportsmanship help you in becoming better at the sport?

QVJ: His athleticism, acceleration and eye for a gap made him a bona fide game breaker. He redefined the position, so I tried to incorporate that and perfect the dive pass and other skills into my game.

CK: What are some of the best matches you’ve watched Joost playing in?

QVJ: The final of the ‘95 World Cup immediately comes to mind; those tackles on Jonah Lomu and the heart he showed playing through the pain of a rib injury, and his hat-trick against Wales in ’96 was the stuff of legends.

CK: When did your rugby life come to an end?

QVJ: Playing for Suid-Natal High School’s first team against Durban North College in 2000, a tackle from behind saw me crash on to my neck and break my C5 vertebra, which left me a quadriplegic. I was 16 years old at the time.

CK: How did you feel when Joost had been diagnosed with MND?

QVJ: I was shocked and found it quite eerie that my childhood hero’s life had taken such a tragic turn.”

CK: How did you feel when you heard he had died?

QVJ: It was a sad day. I felt reports that he’d ‘lost his battle with MND’ were off the mark. He came out a winner in the way he persevered and in doing so, he inspired me one last time.

CK: Rugby has always played a big role in your life. Where, when and how did it all start?

QVJ: I started playing rugby at six or seven at Suid-Natal Primary. My brother Jacques and I are both sports mad and did just about every sport growing up, but rugby was our main passion and like most South African youngsters, we dreamt of one day playing for the Springboks.

CK: Were you involved in rugby at school and outside of school as well? Name a few highlights.

QVJ: I played A-team and first team rugby throughout school. After finishing matric, I decided to combine my passion for sport and rugby with my passion for writing. I started out at SARugby.com where I worked my way up to editor-in-chief. I was a senior staff writer at rugby365.com and the sports editor at the Fever. I’m now the sports editor at eHowzit.co.za.

CK: When did Joost become your hero?

QVJ: He started coming into his own for the Boks in 1994 and really established himself as a star in the ‘95 World Cup, so it’s around that time, when I was 11 or 12, that he became my hero. That’s when I decided to focus on the scrumhalf position and do extra training.

CK: Why do you look up to the sports star so much?

QVJ: As a young schoolboy, you idolise sports stars because they seem like larger-than-life super athletes. That wanes when you reach high school, but Joost definitely played a big role in shaping my rugby career.

CK: Are there any similarities between your rugby hero and you?

QVJ: Unfortunately, our life stories have a lot of similarities. We were both pretty arrogant and were struck down by tragedy. As sportsmen, it’s especially difficult to deal with a life-changing catastrophe because it robs you of your identity. However, it seems like it brought both of us closer to God.

CK: When you played rugby, how did Joost’s sportsmanship help you in becoming better at the sport?

QVJ: His athleticism, acceleration and eye for a gap made him a bona fide game breaker. He redefined the position, so I tried to incorporate that and perfecting the dive pass and other skills into my game.

CK: What are some of the best matches you’ve watched with Joost playing?

QVJ: The final of the ‘95 World Cup immediately comes to mind; those tackles on Jonah Lomu and the heart he showed playing through the pain of a rib injury, and his hat-trick against Wales in ’96 was the stuff of legend.

CK: When did your rugby life come to an end and why?

QVJ: Playing for Suid-Natal High School’s first team against Durban North College in 2000, a tackle from behind saw me crash on to my neck and break my C5 vertebra, which left me a quadriplegic. I was 16-years-old at the time.

CK: How did you feel when Joost had been diagnosed with MND?

QVJ: I was shocked and found it quite eerie that my childhood hero’s life had taken such a tragic turn.”

CK: How did you feel when you heard he had died?

QVJ: It was a sad day. I felt reports that he’d ‘lost his battle with MND’ were off the mark. He came out a winner in the way he persevered and in doing so, he inspired me one last time.

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