Rugby Union - Springbok legend van der Westhuizen fights for life

Former South African Rugby World Cup winner team Captain Francois Pienaar assists former teammate flyhalf Joost van der Westhuizen (Front), during a re-enactement of the team photo from the 1995 Rugby World cup victory on June 24, 2015 at Ellis Park in Johannesburg. Joost van der Westhuizen has been affected by the onset of the motor neurone disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. AFP PHOTO/GIANLUIGI GUERCIAFormer South African Rugby World Cup winner team Captain Francois Pienaar assists former teammate flyhalf Joost van der Westhuizen (Front), during a re-enactement of the team photo from the 1995 Rugby World cup victory on June 24, 2015 at Ellis Park in Johannesburg. Joost van der Westhuizen has been affected by the onset of the motor neurone disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. AFP PHOTO/GIANLUIGI GUERCIA (AFP Photo/GIANLUIGI GUERCIA)

- South African rugby legend Joost van der Westhuizen, who is battling motor neurone disease, is in a "critical condition" after he was rushed to hospital on Saturday, his foundation said. The 45-year-old former scrum-half, a Springboks captain who won the 1995 World Cup, was diagnosed with the condition in 2011. "He was taken to hospital earlier today and is in a critical condition," his J9 Foundation said in a statement on Facebook. The incurable disease which damages parts of the nervous system has left van der Westhuizen confined to a wheelchair and he was given two to five years to live when he was diagnosed. "I realise every day could be my last," he told the BBC in 2013. Van der Westhuizen scored 38 Test tries in 89 appearances in the green and gold by the time he retired in 2003.

AFP