Former Springbok great Joost van der Westhuizen on Friday handed out the Springboks’ jerseys 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,” said Van der Westhuizen.
“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 his strong message to the team 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.”
Earlier on Friday, the Springbok coaching team of Heyneke Meyer, Johann van Graan (forwards coach), Ricardo Loubscher (backs coach), John McFarland (defence coach), Pieter de Villiers (scrum consultant), Louis Koen (kicking consultant) and Albé Visser (technical analyst) conducted a three-hour coaching seminar with club and provincial coaches from Mendoza.
They shared their thoughts on trends in the modern game as well as coaching tips and ideas with a crowd of almost 50 coaches from Mendoza and surrounds.