Full name Joost Heystek van der Westhuizen
Born February 20, 1971, Pretoria
Died February 6, 2017, Johannesburg (aged 45 years 352 days)
Major teams Blue Bulls, Bulls, South Africa
Height 6 ft 1 in
Weight 196 lb
|IRB Rugby World Cup||1995-2003||15||13||2||30||6||0||0||0||12||3||0||80.00|
|The Rugby Championship||1996-2003||23||19||4||20||4||0||0||0||9||13||1||41.30|
|Test debut||Argentina v South Africa at Buenos Aires, Nov 6, 1993 match details|
|Last Test||New Zealand v South Africa at Melbourne, Nov 8, 2003 match details|
|Test Statsguru||Main menu | Career summary | Match list | Most points | Most tries | Tournament list|
Regarded as one of the greatest scrum-halves the game has ever seen, Van der Westhuizen was capped a total of 89 times during a 10-year international career and was a key member of the Springboks side that lifted the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
His outstanding service to the Springboks included a total of three Rugby World Cups and he was given the honour of leading his country into the 1999 showpiece. He retired from international rugby as the most capped Springbok of all time - a record that has since been passed by Percy Montgomery, John Smit and Victor Matfield. The no-nonsense No.9 also crossed for a record 38 Test tries in his career - a mark he now shares with winger Bryan Habana.
He played his provincial for the Northern Transvaal, later re-named the Blue Bulls, and captained them to the Currie Cup crown in 1998 and 2002. He also starred for the Bulls on the Super Rugby stage before a succession of injuries forced him into retirement in the wake of the 2003 World Cup.
He later joined Supersport as a commentator but parted company with the broadcaster after becoming embroiled in a sex and drugs video scandal - a charge he initially denied before confirming in his headline-grabbing autobiography - The Man in the Mirror. The scandal would also lead to the breakdown of his high-profile marriage to Afrikaans media personality Amor Vittone.
Van der Westhuizen suffered a suspected heart attack in 2009 and in a further blow to his health he was provisionally diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2011.