Meet 15 of the greatest names in rugby before The Sevens
A who’s who of rugby greats, led by South African Joost van der Westhuizen, will meet fans in Dubai later this month ahead of their appearance at the Emirates Rugby Sevens.
The J9 World Legends, which also includes Australian pair Stirling Mortlock and Stephen Larkham, as well as England’s Lewis Moody and Ireland’s Ronan O’Gara, will host an evening at The Huddle, Citymax Hotels Bur Dubai on Tuesday November 26, two days before the 2013 tournament begins.
The appearance will help raise awareness for the J9 Foundation – launched by Van der Westhuizen – in aid those suffering from the same form of fatal illness with which he was diagnosed in early 2011, Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
Widely regarded as one of the greatest scrum-halves to ever play the game, the 42-year-old earned 89 caps for the Springboks, and was part of the World Cup winning team of 1995 before captaining the side four years later. However in 2011, Joost was given between two and five years to live. He remains in a wheelchair.
Fans will be allowed to get up close and personal with the players when the bar opens its doors to the public on a first-come first-served basis for a cover charge of 250Dhms. This includes unlimited regular beverages and canapés from 8:30pm to 11:30pm.
Speaking to the BBC earlier this year, he said: “I realise every day could be my last. It’s been a rollercoaster from day one and I know I’m on a deathbed from now on. I’ve had my highs and I have had my lows, but no more. I’m a firm believer that there’s a bigger purpose in my life and I am very positive, very happy.”
Earlier this month, Van der Westhuizen attended the international between Wales and South Africa at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. After the match, nine former Cardiff scrum-halves – Gareth Edwards, Rob Howley, Terry Holmes, Robert Jones, Brynmor Williams, Gareth Cooper, Andy Moore, Paul John and Andy Booth – held a special charity dinner at the Arms Park in the city.
“We wanted to show our huge admiration for him,” said former Lions scrum-half Williams. “His play and courage on the field inspired us, but the courage and bravery he has shown since being struck down by illness is even greater. He is a truly inspiring figure.”
The full line-up for the evening at The Huddle is as follows:
1. David Campese, Australia, 101 (international caps)
2. Thinus Delport, South Africa, 18
3. Colin Charvis, Wales, 96
4. Stirling Mortlock, Australia, 80
5. Carlos Spencer, New Zealand, 35
6. Brian Lima, Samoa, 66
7. Waisale Serevi, Fiji, 38
8. Lewis Moody, England, 74
9. Stephen Larkham, Australia, 102
10. Jaco van der Westhuizen, South Africa, 32
11. Breyton Paulse, South Africa, 64
12. James Dalton, South Africa, 43
13. AJ Venter, South Africa, 25
14. Ronan O’Gara, Ireland, 130
15. Matt Burke, Australia, 81
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