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Joost van der Westhuizen Former South Africa captain dies, aged 45

Tuesday, 7 Feb 2017 : Former South Africa captain Joost van der Westhuizen has died aged 45, six years after he was diagnosed with the debilitating motor neurone disease.

Van der Westhuizen won the World Cup with the Springboks in 1995.

Regarded as one of the finest scrum-halves in history, he won 89 international caps between 1993 and 2003, scoring 38 tries.

He captained the Springboks for four years, including at the 1999 World Cup, before his retirement in 2003.

Van der Westhuizen was admitted to hospital in Johannesburg on Saturday, when he was said to be in a “critical condition”.

A record-breaking career

Van der Westhuizen made his Springboks debut the year after the team were readmitted to international rugby and was their record try-scorer until Bryan Habana surpassed him in 2011.

He will be best remembered for his major role in the Springboks lifting the World Cup on home soil, beating New Zealand in the final.

After winning the Tri-Nations Championship in 1998, he was named captain for the 1999 World Cup – at which South Africa finished third – before retiring after defeat by New Zealand in the quarter-finals of the 2003 tournament.

At the time of his retirement, his 89 Tests made him the most-capped South African of all time, though five players have since won more caps.

After being diagnosed with MND, a rare condition that progressively damages parts of the nervous system and impacts on important muscle activity such as walking, speaking and breathing, he set up the J9 Foundation, which provides support and care to people with the disease.

Source By: Internet

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