Nov 11, 2014
De Kock praises 'inspiring' Van der Westhuizen
Saracens’ former Springbok scrum-half Neil de Kock met up with former South African teammate Joost van der Westhuizen at Allianz Park on Sunday, as Saracens beat De Kock’s former side Western Province 46-22 in the Sanlam Challenge.
Van der Westhuizen, widely regarded as one of the greatest scrum-halves of all time, is in the UK to promote his J9 Foundation charity that raises awareness about Motor Neuron Disease.
Speaking about seeing his former teammate and opponent at Sunday’s game, De Kock said; “It was great to see him. There were a bit of mixed feelings, seeing him over here in the condition that he’s in, but it was really nice to see him again.
“Growing up Joost was somebody that I idolised, and someone I tried to emulate when I was playing rugby at school after the World Cup in 1995. I then managed to become his understudy at the Springboks and I got to play against him on numerous occasions. I still hold him in such high regard, and his work creating awareness for his charity and motor-Neron disease really is inspiring.
“It shows the calibre of the man, that he is willing to get out there and promote a good cause.”
De Kock added; “Recently we sadly lost another teammate that I played with, Thinus Linee, to the same disease. It just goes to show that this condition doesn’t discriminate and it could happen to anyone of us. The support the rugby world is showing Joost is superb. It shows what the rugby fraternity is all about, sticking together and helping each other through difficult times.”