Joost van der Westhuizen's son Jordan pens heartbreaking letter to ask him to 'tell God that Liverpool must win'

13-year-old Jordan spoke of the inspiration that the former South Africa rugby international had given him and asked for him to help out Liverpool Football Club before their win over Tottenham

Jack de Menezes
Monday 13 February 2017 12:46
A letter written by Joost van der Westhuizen's 13-year-old son, Jordan, following the former Springbok's death last week
A letter written by Joost van der Westhuizen's 13-year-old son, Jordan, following the former Springbok's death last week

The son of the late former South Africa rugby player Joost van der Westhuizen has penned a heartbreaking letter following the death of his father last week at the age of 45.

Van der Westhuizen was capped 89 times by the Springboks during a career that took him to three Rugby World Cups, including the famous 1995 victory on home soil that united the nation of South Africa at a time when Apartheid was still very much a problem.

After retiring from rugby in 2003, Van der Westhuizen was diagnosed with motor neuron disease in 2011, and defied medical expectations that gave him two years to life by surviving with the disease until last week.

An outpouring of tributes were paid to the former scrum-half, whose funeral was held on Friday with a memorial service taking place at Loftus Versfeld – home of the Blue Bulls side that he represented – in front of nearly 15,000 mourners.

But the most heart-breaking tribute of all has been paid by his 13-year-old son, Jordan, who said he wanted “to be the best sportsman like you” in a touching letter that was hand-written and included a drawn picture of them together on a rugby pitch, along with four No 9 rugby shirts with the names of Joost and his three children on.

"Thank you for everything but most of all for 'be[ing] the best you can be!

"You are the best rugby player of the world. I want to be the best sportsman like you, because you said I must work hard!

"I will always love you to the moon [and] back."

Liverpool fan Jordan added that he wanted Van der Westhuizen to “please tell God that Liverpool must win”, before adding: “you will never walk alone. I love you so much.”

The letter, which was penned before the weekend, is all the more touching given that Liverpool went on to beat Tottenham on Saturday evening 2-0 in their Premier League encounter at Anfield.

A number of former teammates, including World Cup-winning captain Francois Pienaar (left) carried Van der Westhuizen into the stadium
Van der Westhuizen died at the age of 45 after a long battle with motor neuron disease
Van der Westhuizen's family mourn his death at a memorial service last Friday

The tributes continued over the weekend as a minutes’ silence was held in memory of the former Springbok ahead of all three Six Nations matches, with supporters at the Italy vs Ireland and France vs Scotland matches breaking into spontaneous applause during the period of remembrance.

A minutes' silence was held in Cardiff before Wales vs England

A number of past and present rugby players spoke of their memories of Van der Westhuizen on the pitch, and noted his incredible physicality that was rarely seen in a scrum-half – often the smallest player on the pitch.

Wales head coach and former Test No 9 Rob Howley said last week: "It is devastating to hear of the passing of Joost. “We all know his qualities on the pitch, he was a fantastic rugby player and for me was the best nine I played against. He had the ability to score tries from five or 70 yards, he was that good.

"He was a world class nine who was respected throughout the rugby world."

Supporters at the France vs Scotland match broke out into spontaneous applause

It was his work off the pitch though that showed what an incredible man he was, as he set-up the J9 Foundation to help other sufferers of motor neuron disease and their families, despite having to live with the condition himself.

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