Rugby

Woodward 'had a plan' for Joost in 2003

2017-02-07 09:15

Cape Town - England's 2003 World Cup winning coach Sir Clive Woodward considered Joost van der Westhuizen South Africa's major threat when the sides met in the group stages of that tournament. 

England dominated the game to beat the Boks 25-6 in Perth before going on to win the tournament to secure their first ever World Cup triumph. 

The Boks, meanwhile, crashed out of the quarter-final stages when they lost 29-9 to the All Blacks. 

Van der Westhuizen, who passed away on Monday afternoon after a long battle against motor neuron disease, was a part of that Springbok side. 

He was 32-years-old at the time and had already played in two World Cups before then, winning it in 1995, but the Bok scrumhalf was still considered the danger man by Woodward in 2003. 

Woodward took to Twitter to pay his respects to Van der Westhuizen, and he made reference to video footage of one of his team talks before that Bok game in 2003 when he had instructed his side to stop Van der Westhuizen. 

"Wow - you just forget things like this," Woodward said of the video footage. 

"What a great player, stop him and we win the game. RIP my friend, you will never be forgotten."

In the video, Woodward points to Van der Westhuizen's name, which he has written on a white board, and instructs his team to focus on him. 

"We want to be all over this guy," Woodward is seen saying.

"We've got to target him."

The video then cuts to Woodward being interviewed after the World Cup. 

"I was worried about Joost ... who has always been a great player," Woodward said.

"But then he went right off the Richter scale and we thought he was history. And then in the World Cup he game back and he looked fit and sharp.

"We saw him as their real talisman. 

"I though that if we could get to him, and not hurt him but belt him and make sure he knew he was playing against England, we thought we'd win the game."

 

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