With the passing of the legendary Joost van der Westhuizen let’s take a look at the Springbok’s incredible life as a servant to the game.
Early years: Joost was born in Pretoria on 20 February 1971 and attended Hoërskool F.H. Odendaal and then the University of Pretoria where he obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree.
April 1992: Van der Westhuizen started his rise to stardom when he represented Northern Transvaal against the Eastern Transvaal which was the first time he donned the Blue Bulls jersey.
April 1993: A year later Van der Westhuizen wore the green and gold for the first time when the giant number nine played for the Springbok Sevens team that toured Edinburgh at the Sevens World Cup.
July 1993: The mercurial scrum-half could have barely had a better start for South Africa as in his first game for the Springboks he scored four tries against Australia in Perth.
June 1995: Van der Westhuizen was instrumental in South Africa winning the Rugby World Cup when they beat New Zealand 15-12. South Africa was the only country All Black juggernaut Jonah Lomu never scored against and Van der Westhuizen’s remarkable tackling was a massive contributing factor, as the scrum-half famously cut Lomu down at the peak of the winger’s form in the final.
1997-1998: The Springboks reached a record 17 Test wins in a row and again Van der Westhuizen had a lot to do with their winning-run after taking part in 14 of those games.
October 1999: His servitude to the Springbok jersey was rewarded with one of rugby’s greatest accolades as Van der Westhuizen was chosen to lead South Africa to the 1999 Rugby World Cup.
October 2003: Van der Westhuizen played in his third Rugby World Cup in 2003 that would mark his last major competition in international rugby.
November 2003: Van der Westhuizen retired from international rugby. He finished his illustrious career as the Springbok’s record cap holder. He had captained the Springboks 10 times, had 89 caps and scored 190 points in Test rugby.
2015: The legend of the game was deified in the eyes of the rugby world when Van der Westhuizen was inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame. He was inducted after being noted as “the greatest scrum-half to have appeared at a Rugby World Cup” and for “redefining scrum-half play with his pace and power and superb technical skills”.