2017/02/10 Rofhiwa Marubini-Tshitahe
From now on every scrum half jersey in the Springbok will be a J9 in honour of Joost van Der Westhuizen who captained the South African national rugby team at the 1999 Rugby World Cup.
This was announced by South African Rugby Association President (SARLA) Gavin Varejes on Friday during van der Westhuizen’s memorial.
Van der Westhuizen was given a special provincial funeral at Loftus Versveld stadium which was led by a memorial service which serves an opportunity for South Africans to gather and celebrate the life of the 1995 Rugby World Cup winner.
Van der Westhuizen passed away on Monday at the age of 45 after losing long term battle with motor neuron disease which was diagnosed in 2011.
Van der Westhuizen has since established the J9 Foundation in aid of those suffering with Motor Neuron Diseases.
Van der Westhuizen’s brother Pieter described his brother a humble person, who lived to make positive of life and never look back in anything he does.
“With discipline and hardwork, Joost made Springboks proud, he always had passion in everything he did. Joost was a simple man to us but a legend to the world,”
Van der Westhuizen, made his provincial debut for the Bulls in 1992, and his test debut only a year later on 6 November 1993 against Argentina in Buenos Aires.
Amongst other remarkable achievements in his career, Van der Westhuizen appeared at three World Cups, played for seven Springbok coaches and won 69% of the time in the Bok jersey.
Addressing the masses Minister for Sports, Fikile Mbalula said “we believe that the spirit of Van der Westhuizen will always live, he represented our country in many other countries, he left a mark that will live forever.