Joost van der Westhuizen: Remembering a Springbok legend

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Joost van der Westhuizen memorably tames Jonah Lomu. (Gallo Images)
Joost van der Westhuizen memorably tames Jonah Lomu. (Gallo Images)

Today marks the death five years ago of legendary Springbok and Bulls scrumhalf, Joost van der Westhuizen.

Van der Westhuizen, a World Cup winner in 1995, died on 6 February 2017 after a protracted battle against motor neuron disease.

He was 45 at the time of his death.

"J9", as he was known to supporters, played 89 Tests in green and gold between 1993 and 2003, making him the eighth most-capped Springbok of all time. 

He is widely regarded as one of the greatest ever international scrumhalves thanks to his sniping breaks as well and his superb defence, including an unforgettable front-on tackle on a rampaging Jonah Lomu during the 1995 World Cup final at Ellis Park.

Van Der Westhuizen was also the Springboks' record try scorer for a long period, having crossed the whitewash on 38 occasions.

He was eventually surpassed by Bryan Habana in 2011.

Other than the World Cup, Van der Westhuizen was part of the 1998 Tri-Nations winning Springbok squad.

He also captained South Africa at the 1999 World Cup, where they finished third.

He was a true legend of the game not only in South Africa but worldwide. 

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