Joost van der Westhuizen (Gallo Images)
Mendoza - Former Springbok great Joost van der Westhuizen handed out the Springboks' jerseys on Friday at an emotional ceremony at the team’s hotel in Mendoza, where they play Argentina on Saturday in the second Test of The Castle Rugby Championship.
Van der Westhuizen, who played in 89 Springbok Tests and scored 56 tries in 111 matches for South Africa, delivered a strong message to Heyneke Meyer, Jean de Villiers and the Springboks.
"It’s a great honour for me to be here today," he said.
"I’m glad that I have the opportunity to talk to you as you are building what I believe will become a great team in future.
"But in my life there is no tomorrow and that is why I urge you to be great tomorrow against Argentina, as you represent your country, your family and yourselves. "Go out there and be the best player you can be on the field and the best person you can be off the field."
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers thanked Van der Westhuizen for the message and told the story of the only time he ever played with the great Bok scrumhalf, in a Rugby World Cup warm-up game in Springs in 2003.
"When we were busy with the warm-up before the match, I almost had to pinch myself when Joost passed me the ball - this great guy whose tackle on Jonah Lomu in the World Cup in 1995 I will never forget," said De Villiers.
"Joost, you’ve been an inspiration to us and we wish you well with your battle (with motor neuron disease). We know you as a fighter and we will always appreciate what you did for Springbok rugby."