Tribute event in aid of stricken Springboks legend Joost van der Westhuizen

7 Nov 2013 10:18

Former scrum-half, who is battling against motor neurone disease, is in Cardiff for Saturday’s international between Wales and South Africa

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Joost van der Westhuizen

 

Springboks legend Joost van der Westhuizen will be the guest of honour at a charity dinner in his aid at the Arms Park this evening.

The former scrum-half, who is battling against motor neurone disease, is in Cardiff for Saturday’s international between Wales and South Africa at the Millennium Stadium.

And to mark his presence, a special event has been arranged to raise funds for him and his charity foundation J9.

Nine former Cardiff scrum-halves – Gareth Edwards, Rob Howley, Terry Holmes, Robert Jones, Brynmor Williams, Gareth Cooper, Andy Moore, Paul John and Andy Booth – will welcome him to the Arms Park for what is likely to be an emotional and memorable event.

Van der Westhuizen won 89 caps for South Africa between 1993 and 2003, lifting the World Cup in Johannesburg in 1995.

He was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2011, when he was given between two and five years to live.

The 42-year-old is confined to a wheelchair and struggles with his speech, but continues to battle bravely against the disease.

Explaining the thinking behind tonight’s event, organiser Brynmor Williams said it was an opportunity for Welsh rugby to pay tribute to a great player and a great man.

“We wanted to show our huge admiration for him,” said the former Lions scrum-half.

“His play and courage on the field inspired us, but the courage and bravery he has shown since being struck down by illness is even greater.

“He is a truly inspiring figure.”