If like me the RWC 95 really opened your eyes to international rugby then you, like me, will be in awe of what Joost van der Westhuizen brought to the South African game.
The internet is littered with reports of turmoil and disarray leading up to the World Cup in South Africa, but few can argue that the talented scrumhalf was the glue that held the fractured camps together. Francois Pienaar may have been the talented orator for the team but Joost was the on-field organiser. Sit back and watch some of his amazing tries.
Blessed with speed and eye for the gap, van der Westhuizen went on to score 38 tries in 89 appearances over a span of 10 years. Besides the ’95 RWC triumph, van der Westhuizen was also a member of the ’98 Tri-Nations winning team and went on to captain the Springboks from ’99.
On of the standout performances will always be the tackle on Jonah Lomu in the ’95 final. Lomu had previously just run over Mike Catt (Eng) in the tournament and was literally devastating but Joost took him down as the Kiwi’s threatened to break the line. Jona and Joost went on to form a lasting friendship, witnessed by the great New Zealand winger’s tribute before his own death in this video.
It’s always sad to see one of your sporting heroes pass on but the memories of ’95 and the performances of one of the best nine’s will live on forever.
Springbok caps: 89
Springbok tries: 38
World Rugby Hall of Fame: 2014