Cape Town - The Golden Lions Rugby Union have issued a statement following the death of Joost van der Westhuizen.
The union was extremely shocked and saddened by the passing of former Springbok scrumhalf after his long illness and cited Van der Westhuizen as a legend of the game and loved by many fans around the world.
Rudolf Straeuli, CEO, paid tribute, saying: "The thoughts of the entire country are with his family. He was a game changer whenever he stepped onto the field. On a personal level I played and coached with Joost and it is a huge loss. His family and close friends are in our thoughts."
Johan Ackermann, coach of the Lions, also conveyed his condolences. “I played with Joost from under 20 to Springbok level and will always treasure the moments we shared. He was always an inspiration and fighter on and off the field and one of the best players I ever played with or against. Our prayers are with the family.”
The president of the GLRU, Kevin de Klerk, added: “It is always sad when the rugby world loses a former player. In this case, even more so, as Joost was a special player who was such a big part of the 1995 World Cup euphoria. He will stay on in our hearts forever.”