FILE - In this Saturday, June 24, 1995 file photo, South Africa's scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen lets fly a pass during the World Cup final against New Zealand at Ellis Park in Johannesburg. Joost van der Westhuizen, who won the 1995 World Cup with South Africa as Nelson Mandela looked on, has died after a six-year-battle with motor neuron disease. He was 45. South Africa Rugby announced the death Monday, Feb. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/John Parkin, file)

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Australian rugby union joins world in mourning death of Joost van der Westhuizen

SYDNEY – The Australian Rugby Union has offered its condolences to the Van der Westhuizen family and South African Rugby community, following the passing of Springbok great Joost van der Westhuizen on Monday.

An 89-Test Springbok who captained the side on 10 occasions, Van der Westhuizen will be remembered by the Australian Rugby community as an incredibly talented and fearless competitor.

ARU CEO Bill Pulver said: “On behalf of the whole rugby community in Australia, I want to express how sad we were to hear of Joost’s passing.

“Joost was a truly extraordinary rugby player and having read about his efforts with the J9 Foundation he sounds like an equally extraordinary human being. At 45, his great life has ended too early.

“Our thoughts are with his family, especially his children Jordan and Kylie, and the wider South African Rugby community, during this difficult time.”

A prodigiously gifted scrumhalf, Van der Westhuizen memorably starred in South Africa’s victorious 1995 World Cup campaign, where the Springboks overcame the All Blacks 15-12 in the Johannesburg final.

Over his career he played the Wallabies 15 times, recording eight wins, one draw and six losses against Australia.

He retired from international rugby after the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia as the most capped Springbok of all time, having played 111 times (including 89 Tests) for the Springboks.

He was later inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame in 2007. – African News Agency (ANA)

FILE – In this Saturday, June 24, 1995 file photo, South Africa’s scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen lets fly a pass during the World Cup final against New Zealand at Ellis Park in Johannesburg. Joost van der Westhuizen, who won the 1995 World Cup with South Africa as Nelson Mandela looked on, has died after a six-year-battle with motor neuron disease. He was 45. South Africa Rugby announced the death Monday, Feb. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/John Parkin, file)
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