Mr Oregan Hoskins, president of the South African Rugby Union, offered rugby’s support and prayers to Springbok legend Joost van der Westhuizen on Friday, after it was announced that the former player had been struck done by a serious illness. The 40-year-old former Springbok captain was reported to be being treated for a serious muscle related neural disease.
Mr Hoskins said: “We only have the media reports to go on at this moment, but the news about Joost’s health is distressing in the extreme. The thoughts and prayers of SARU, the Springboks and the South African rugby community are with Joost and those nearest and dearest to him at this challenging time.
“He was an outstanding Springbok and is a legend of our game – he will always have a place of honour in the history of Springbok rugby. He gave his all on the field for the teams he represented and – at his prime – was the best scrumhalf in world rugby. His current health problems are the cruellest twist of fate for one who was so athletic in his prime.”
Van der Westhuizen retired from rugby after appearing in his third Rugby World Cup in 2003. He made what was a then record 89 Test appearances for the Springboks, captaining the team at the 1999 Rugby World Cup and on ten occasions in all. For a scrumhalf, he scored an extraordinary total of 38 tries in Tests, including two hat-tricks, and still shares the Springbok record with Bryan Habana.