Friday, February 06, 2009
Hailing from the Blue Bulls in Pretoria to smash nearly every South African rugby record, including most Test tries and most Tests, this is a player we felt is more than worthy of recognition here on Rugbydump.
A giant for a scrum half, he wore his heart on his sleeve, commanding respect whenever he played. Towering his counterparts and getting stuck-in more than most, it was Bill Mclaren who once quipped, 'He'd make a great flanker wouldn't he'.
He left his mark on three world cup tournaments with his rugged defence and aggressive, sniping runs whenever he spotted a half gap. His tackle in the 1995 final on the then 'unstoppable force', the rampaging Jonah Lomu, was to go down in rugby folklore, but was to become just one moment in a long list of highlights, including a hat-trick against Scotland at Murrayfield, a Tri-Nations championship and the 1995 World Cup victory.
While far from perfect technically, he is still considered by many to be one of the greatest scrum halfs to have ever played the game; Joost van der Westhuizen will be remembered as a proud man who gave his all for his beloved Springboks. He famously played the epic 1999 World Cup Semi Final against Australia with broken ribs, refusing to go off as he was captaining his country and would fight till the death.
An inspiration to all with his style of play and never say die attitude, he was one of the most respected Springboks, and a legend of the game of rugby.
We've featured Joost as part of our build up to the British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa that kicks off in June. We'll be randomly featuring different players, teams, and incidents in our effort to contribute to the hype surrounding the biggest event of the year.
Music: When we were young - The Killers